The 434th Air Reserve Wing at Grissom Air Reserve Base near Kokomo is celebrating the retirement of one of its leaders. Col. Paul Gates, who has served as vice commander of the ARW since 2015, has retired after 30 years of service with the U.S. Air Force.

Gates began his career with the Air Force in 1988 after graduating from the Air Force Academy. He came to Grissom in 2011 as an instructor pilot and was named deputy commander in 2012.

"It has truly been a privilege to serve my constitution and country," Gates during his retirement ceremony Sunday. "In the 1960s when President Kennedy gave a directive that the United States was going to put a man on the moon, if you walked into NASA and talked to an engineer or the man sweeping the floor, they’d tell you the same thing: ‘we’re putting a on the moon.’" That’s this wing when it comes to the mission. Here in north central Indiana all of you have a direct effect on our ability to defend our national security."

Gates is being succeeded by Col. Anne Noel, who becomes the first woman to hold the position of vice commander at Grissom. 

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