Mounkes assumes command of 123rd Airlift Wing

By Tech. Sgt. Vicky Spesard, 123rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Mounkes takes command of 123rd

Col. David Mounkes (right), the new commander of the 123rd Airlift wing, accepts the wing guidon from Brig. Gen. Warren Hurst, Kentucky’s assistant adjutant general for Air, during an assumption-of-command ceremony at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., on April 16, 2016. Mounkes most recently served as commander of the 123rd Contingency Response Group. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Joshua Horton)

KENTUCKY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, LOUISVILLE, Ky. — With friends, family and hundreds of Airmen looking on, Col. David Mounkes assumed command of the 123rd Airlift Wing during a ceremony here April 16.

Presiding over the event was Brig. Gen. Warren Hurst, the Kentucky National Guard’s assistant adjutant general–Air, who formally passed the unit guidon to Mounkes, signifying the colonel’s new post as leader of one of the most decorated wings in Air Force history.

“We started with P-51s in 1947, then flew F-84s, F-86s, RB-57s, RF-101s, RF-4s and finally the C-130s in 1992,” Hurst told the audience. “When we got these, we started doing a lot of different things around the world and, we’ve been doing them ever since. We have done an incredible amount of deployments and exercises where people have just continued to excel.

“So, Col. Mounkes, this is the legacy that you get to inherit as their new wing commander, and the responsibility to make sure they have the tools and opportunities to continue to excel and meet our state and national obligations,” he continued. “You have my full confidence and the ability to take command of the 123rd Airlift Wing–the best airlift wing in the United States Air Force.”

Mounkes most recently served as commander of the 123rd Contingency Response Group, which is responsible for rapidly deploying multi-skilled expeditionary teams to assess and open aerial ports of debarkation in semi-permissive or uncertain environments for federal and state missions.

He graduated from California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo, and received his commission through Officer Training School in 1989. Mounkes is a graduate of Air War College.

As a navigator, he has flown C-130 combat, combat-support and humanitarian-relief operations worldwide while serving for the active-duty Air Force and the Air National Guard. His deployment experience includes Operations Provide Promise, Restore Hope, Provide Relief and Joint Forge.

While on active duty, Mounkes served at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, where he spent three years with the 50th Airlift Squadron flying operational missions all over the world. He was then selected as a tactical airlift instructor and served three years with the 62nd Airlift Squadron, instructing and evaluating both initial tactical airlift students and tactical airlift instructor candidates.

Mounkes transferred to the Kentucky Air National Guard in August of 1997 and was mobilized from 2002 through 2003 in support of Operations Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. During his tenure here, he has served as 123rd Operations Group standards and evaluations navigator, 165th Airlift Squadron director of operations, was dual-hatted as both the 123rd Global Mobility Squadron commander and the 123rd Contingency Response Group deputy commander, and finally, in his most recent assignment, as the commander of the 123rd CRG.

Mounkes’ operational command experience includes serving as squadron commander for the 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, from July to September 2007; commanding a Contingency Response Element for earthquake relief in the Dominican Republic in support of Operation Unified Response from January to March 2010; and as the commander of Joint task Force-Port Opening Senegal/123rd Contingency Response Group for Operation United Assistance in Dakar, Senegal, supporting international efforts to fight an outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease from September to November 2014.

“As we look over the past years at the accomplishments that we have made, I am amazed,” Mounkes said during his comments. “The thanks go to you, the men and women of the 123rd Airlift Wing. I know we are busy and that two thirds of you out there are drill-status Guardsmen with other jobs, school–all the things that require you to maintain life and multiple jobs. When I say thank you for your service, it is truly from the bottom of my heart.

“My challenge to you is to continue to live up to the legacy of which you are a part,” he extolled to the wing. “Be proud of your service, keep pushing to do your best and do what’s right. This is every bit my challenge as well,” he continued. “I will be driven to do my absolute best for both you and for our country.”

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