Former 131st Commander promoted to brigadier general

  • Published
  • By Sgt. Jacqueline Courtney
Gregory S. Champagne was promoted to brigadier general during a ceremony held at the Ike Skelton Training Site on Saturday.

Champagne, a 30-year service member and the previous commander of the 131st Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., has been serving as the Assistant Adjutant General-Air of the Missouri Air National Guard since February.

Champagne is responsible for strategic planning of Air National Guard operations to ensure mission viability for Missouri Air National Guard force structure. He also assists the Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Steve Danner in the implementation of plans and policies affecting an airlift wing, bomb wing, air operations group, Advanced Airlift Tactics Training Center, air traffic control, combat communications squadrons and other support missions and programs.

"Thank you so much for the opportunity to lead 2,500 of our Airmen," said Champagne to Danner. "The leadership we have in the Air Guard is the best I've ever seen, and there's no doubt in my mind that we'll be able to rise to expectations and exceed them."

During the ceremony, Danner presented Champagne with a special flag. This flag, signifying the presence of a brigadier general, will be present at all official military functions attended by Champagne and will be displayed in Champagne's office from here on out.

Champagne began his career in the Missouri Air National Guard when he received his commission through the Academy of Military Science. He then continued through formal F-4 Phantom navigator and pilot training courses. In 1991, he transitioned to the F-15 Eagle.

In addition, Champagne achieved combat mission ready status in the B-2 Spirit in 2008. His previous assignment as the commander of the 131st Bomb Wing was unique in the fact that it is the National Guard's only B-2 unit and provides nearly 1,100 combat-ready Airmen for both state and federal missions.

Champagne has served in numerous flying positions as both an instructor pilot and commander and has a broad background of experience with assignments in flying operations, logistics, aircraft maintenance, a National Guard Bureau staff assignment, and wing staff positions.

He has logged more than 3,400 flight hours including combat missions in Operations Provide Comfort and Southern Watch and commanded the 407th Air Expeditionary Group at Tallil Air Base, Iraq, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.