New era begins as command changes hands Published Sept. 6, 2023 By TSgt Ryan Bennett 136th Airlift Wing NAVAL AIR STATION JOINT RESERVE BASE FORT WORTH, Texas -- Two 136th Airlift Wing leaders were honored in a joint change of command and retirement ceremony here August 26, 2023. Col. Matthew Groves, 136th AW commander, presided over the ceremony as Col. Kurt Anderson assumed command from Col. Dave DeMarque, who retired after 34 distinguished years of service. Attendees included members of the 136th AW, esteemed guests, and community leaders. Reflecting on DeMarque’s leadership, Groves highlighted his humility and commitment to servant leadership. “You have responded with, and led the response by the operations group, saving lives and property and responding to chaos and suffering when Texans and our other neighbors needed help,” he said. “You led by example, going back to Little Rock to J-model school before anyone else to start the conversion process, and I suspect this was not because you wanted to get back to the rock, but because you were unwilling to ask anyone else to do something you had not demonstrated your own willingness to do.” Groves also acknowledged DeMarque's admirable skill in balancing his civilian and military roles as a pilot while effectively overseeing the 136th Operations Group, serving as an inspiration to future leaders. The official transfer of command took place as DeMarque passed the unit’s guidon, a symbol of authority, to Anderson. This formalized the change in leadership and command responsibilities. After Anderson assumed command of the 136th OG, he expressed gratitude to 136th leadership, as well as to the members now under his command. “Thank you for the trust and support you have given me,” said Anderson. “To the operations group, I am extremely proud of you and excited about what lies ahead.” Hailing from Texas and a 2001 graduate of Texas A&M University, Anderson returned home to continue his military service. Since 2011, he has consistently demonstrated unwavering commitment in pivotal roles within the Texas Air National Guard. These roles include serving as Chief of Safety for the 136th AW, the 181st Airlift Squadron’s director of operations, and most recently, 181st AS commander. “We will be ready for the future as emerging schemes of maneuver increasingly rely on tactical airlift and airdrop, and we will lead the way,” Anderson said. Headquartered at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Texas, the 136th Operations Group consists of the 181st Airlift Squadron, 136th Operations Support Squadron, and the 136th Contingency Response Flight.