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Jurries takes 131st Mission Support Group helm

Lt. Col. Michael Jurries accepts the 131st Mission Support Group guidon from Col. Michael Francis, 131st Bomb Wing Commander, during Jurries's Assumption of Command ceremony at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Dec. 7, 2014.

(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Halley Burgess)

Lt. Col. Michael Jurries accepts the 131st Mission Support Group guidon from Col. Michael Francis, 131st Bomb Wing Commander, during Jurries's Assumption of Command ceremony at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Dec. 7, 2014. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Halley Burgess)

Lt. Col. Michael Jurries accepts the 131st Mission Support Group guidon from Col. Michael Francis, 131st Bomb Wing commander, during Jurries's Assumption of Command ceremony at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Dec. 7, 2014.

(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Halley Burgess)

Lt. Col. Michael Jurries accepts the 131st Mission Support Group guidon from Col. Michael Francis, 131st Bomb Wing commander, during Jurries's Assumption of Command ceremony at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Dec. 7, 2014. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Halley Burgess)

Members of the 131st Mission Support Group stand in formation during Lt. Col. Michael Jurries's 131st MSG Assumption of Command ceremony at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Dec. 7, 2014.

(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Halley Burgess)

Members of the 131st Mission Support Group stand in formation during Lt. Col. Michael Jurries's 131st MSG Assumption of Command ceremony at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Dec. 7, 2014. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Halley Burgess)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- Lt. Col. Michael Jurries took command of the 131st Mission Support Group during an assumption of command ceremony held here during drill Dec. 7.

Previously commander of the 131st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Jurries was responsible for planning and conducting all aspects of aircraft maintenance, launch and recovery of the B-2 Spirit bomber.  Jurries started his career on active duty as an intelligence officer and as an F-15 pilot, and has commanded at both the flight and squadron levels.

"What happened to the young Captain Jurries, 'world's greatest fighter pilot,' to transform him into Lt. Col. Jurries, Mission Support Group commander?" asked Col. Michael Francis, 131st Bomb Wing commander, during his remarks as presiding officer at the ceremony.

"The answer is, Mike has re-discovered his gift of leadership.  A gift seeded and nurtured by parents. A gift grown on the gridiron of the Air Force Academy football team.  A gift that has been maturing through parenthood and life experience," said Francis.  "And now he finds this talent for leadership blossoming as he experiences command.

"Lt. Col. Mike Jurries is a leader.  He is an outstanding officer of high integrity and honor.  He is a good man deeply proud of his family and fiercely proud of this wing," Francis added.

Jurries takes the helm from Col. Mark Beck, who retired Dec. 6 following 36 years of uniformed service, and who also previously served as a commander in the maintenance group.

"Just as he set the framework of success in the Maintenance Group during the transition to Whiteman in 2007, he has provided that same framework in the (Mission) Support Group. The framework of success," Jurries said, describing Beck's role in the wing's transition from a St. Louis-based fighter wing to its current B-2 mission here. 

"I am honored and humbled to continue command in this organization, at such an historic time in our 91-year history," Jurries said.  He thanked past and present wing leadership, along with total force leaders from the active duty 509th Bomb Wing, who helped him "develop my perspective of what it means to serve in the 'Nuclear Enterprise.'"

"We as Guardsmen and women have a huge responsibility to be value added to this mission.  It is what we have been asked to do, and I will tell you we are doing it well," he said, adding, "we must continue to evolve."

The incoming commander recognized - and challenged - the Citizen Airmen of his new command.

"Serve your country, serve your state.  Be proud to wear the uniform, become experts in this mission," he said.  "I think you will find it a worthy and satisfying endeavor."