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Major Nelsen Takes Command of 131st Civil Engineer Squadron

While outgoing commander Lt. Col. Lane Endicott stands by, Maj. Daniel Nelsen accepts the 131st Civil Engineers Squadron guidon from 131st Bomb Wing Mission Support Group commander Col. Mike Jurries. The change of command ceremony was held at Jefferson Barracks Air National Guard Base, Missouri, Oct 1, 2016. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Mary-Dale Amison)

While outgoing commander Lt. Col. Lane Endicott stands by, Maj. Daniel Nelsen accepts the 131st Civil Engineers Squadron guidon from 131st Bomb Wing Mission Support Group commander Col. Mike Jurries. The change of command ceremony was held at Jefferson Barracks Air National Guard Base, Missouri, Oct 1, 2016. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Mary-Dale Amison)

JEFFERSON BARRACKS AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mo -- Maj. Daniel Nelsen took command of the 131st Bomb Wing's Civil Engineer Squadron during a change of command ceremony held during drill weekend Oct 1.

Nelsen assumed command of the unit from Lt. Col. Lane Endicott during a ceremony presided over by 131st Mission Support Group Commander Col. Mike Jurries. Nelsen previously served as a drill-status guardsman as the 131st CES operations officer here, while also employed full time as the chief of portfolio optimization for the 509th Civil Engineer Squadron at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri.

During opening remarks, Jurries recalled when he first met Nelsen, in his civilian civil engineer role, at a Whiteman facilities meeting.

"So he's kind of 'the guy,'" Jurries said. "He's up there briefing general officers and giving guidance and direction to a strategic nuclear bombing mission, and I'm just thinking 'wow, this guy is sharp. We should try to get him in the Guard.'"

Nelsen received his commission through the Reserve Officer Training Corps at Iowa State University.  Following the successful defense of his Master's thesis, he was assigned to the 375th Civil Engineer Squadron at Scott AFB, Illinois, in June 2003.  He deployed to New Orleans in 2005 to assist in recovery efforts following Hurricane Katrina. From there, he transferred to the Air Force Reserve in 2006 and ultimately became a member of the 131st  in 2010.

In his remarks, Nelson highlighted Endicott's leadership through tumultuous times and multiple deployments, adding that the former commander has been an integral part of the squadron for 28 years of his military service and has been its commander for the last 13 years.

"The 131st Civil Engineer Squadron is a special unit led by a special person," said Nelsen. "I have never served for anyone who demonstrated so much confidence in the abilities of his people and consistently put their interests at the heart of his actions.  Lane Endicott is known for this not only in our squadron, but across the bomb wing. The void he leaves behind is large and I will try to fill it as best I can."

"Dan is fiercely loyal to the 131st and its mission." Jurries added. "The 442nd Fighter Wing (at Whiteman) approached him twice to be their civil engineer squadron commander, and he turned them down." 

Citing the ingenuity of 131st CES Guardsmen, Nelsen spoke about the men and the women of the unit frequently confronted by technical challenges, but always able to find solutions. Whether making sense of defunct recurring work programs; restoring inoperable sign-making equipment or street painting machines; removing hundreds of tons of desert sand from Army Patriot Battery perimeters; or constructing air parks for static displays, there's nothing the 131CES can't do given the right time and materials, he said.

"I am the inheritor of Lt. Col Endicott's legacy," said Nelsen. "And I am the beneficiary of his years of labor forging the 131st Civil Engineer Squadron into what I regard as the finest CE squadron in the world."