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Change of command
Maj. Gen. Roger Burg (left), 20th Air Force commander passes the 341st Space Wing guidon to incoming commander Col. Michael Fortney while outgoing commander Col. Sandy Finan looks on. The change of command ceremony was held May 21 in the 3-Bay Hangar. (U.S. Air Force photo/John Turner)
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Colonel Fortney takes command of Wing One

Posted 5/21/2008   Updated 5/22/2008 Email story   Print story


by Valerie Mullett
341st Space Wing Public Affairs

5/21/2008 - MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- Wing One celebrated change once again when Col. Michael Fortney became the 50th commander of the 341st Space Wing Wednesday during a ceremony at Malmstrom's 3-Bay Hangar.

This is the first time the colonel has been in Big Sky Country, although it is not the first time he has been to a northern tier base or worked in Air Force Space Command. He started his missile combat crew duties in 1986 at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., working his way up through the operations positions in the six years he spent there. He has also served two tours at F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo., and two tours at Vandenberg AFB, Calif.

"It is great to be back in the ICBM business," said Colonel Fortney. "It is not the weapon system missileers fall in love with, it's the importance of the mission and the pride of the Airmen who operate, maintain, secure and support the weapon system day in and day out."

Maj. Gen. Roger Burg, 20th Air Force commander, presided over the ceremony.

"We are here today to celebrate the departure of one exceptional wing commander, to welcome a new one," said General Burg, "and to start another new chapter in the rich history of Malmstrom."

General Burg praised Colonel Fortney's capabilities explaining has been given the chance to excel, once again.

"Your hard work, dedication and many successes have earned you this honor to lead a wing," General Burg said. "You've earned that sacred trust of the commanders who have given you this opportunity."

Colonel Fortney was preceded in command by Col. Sandy Finan who will move on to become the Deputy Director of Nuclear Operations for Air Force Space Command at Peterson AFB, Colo.

"The Fortney's are immensely qualified to lead you," said Colonel Finan. "I know you all will give them the same support and dedicated service that you gave to Chuck and me."

During the ceremony, General Burg also presented Colonel Finan with the Legion of Merit, first oak leaf cluster, award for her exceptional accomplishments while commander of the 341st Space Wing, citing all of the awards she has lead this wing in winning, and for the high marks earned during seven inspection in her two-year assignment here.

"I would have to say that Malmstrom is arguably the best wing in the United States Air Force, especially right at this time," Colonel Fortney said, with regards to all the recent awards won at Guardian Challenge. "You are a team, who under Colonel Finan's leadership, set the standard for the command. It is an absolute pleasure to take over a team that is firing on all cylinders."

Colonel Fortney was commissioned through Officer Training School in 1986 after serving seven years as an enlisted reconnaissance photo interpreter. Since his commissioning, he has served in a variety of assignments to include missile crew operations, emergency war order training officer, flight commander, and special assistant to the CINC USSTRATCOM. Most recently, Colonel Fortney served as the vice commander of the 30th Space Wing, Vandenberg AFB, California.

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