Story by SMSgt William Gizara on 09/19/2019Stratton Air National Guard Base, Scotia, NY New York Air National Guard Lt. Col. William Carraher, a Rexford resident and retired New York State Police officer, assumed command of the 109th Airlift Wing's 109th Maintenance Group during a ceremony at Stratton Air National Guard Base on Saturday, Sept. 7.
Carraher took over the command from Colonel Robert Donaldson, a Greenfield Center resident, who has moved into a new job as Chief of Staff of the New York Air National Guard. Donaldson has commanded the group for the last three years.
Col. Michele Kilgore, the commander of the 109th Airlift Wing, transferred the guidon, or flag, of the 109th Maintenance Group, from Donaldson to Carraher to signify the change of command.
Carraher previously commanded the 109th Airlift Wing's 139th Airlift Squadron. He is a command pilot with more than 4,000 hours of flight time.
"While this guidon is very small, that you see us pass, it is profoundly symbolic as it represents the authority and responsibility for 10 LC-130 aircraft and the future of hundreds of airmen in the service to their country in the world's finest Air Force," Kilgore said.
She praised Donaldson for his service in the 109th Airlift Wing and predicted he will do well in his new position at New York Air National Guard headquarters.
"I can think of no-one more qualified as the principal advisor to the New York Air National Guard commander, and I am happy he will champion the aircraft modernization efforts he began as group commander as he makes the move into his new role," Kilgore said.
The 109th Airlift Wing operates the world's largest ski-equipped aircraft which can land on snow or ice, the LC-130. The maintenance group is responsible for keeping those planes flying.
In his remarks, Carraher said he looked forward to leading the group's Airmen.
"This is truly a privilege and honor to work with all of you," Carraher said. "This group has displayed a legacy of innovation and passion to get the mission done and a legacy of success"
"We all know there will be future challenges. I pledge to you we will face them together. I will work hard to meet the challenges, to give my very best. To take care of you the best I can."
Carraher joined the 109th Airlift Wing as an enlisted airman in 1996. He was commissioned through the Academy of Military Science at McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base in 1998.
Carraher has served as a flight commander, a chief pilot, and deployed commander for 109th Airlift Wing operations in support of the Operation Deep Freeze, the annual Antarctic resupply effort by the military. He has also flown missions in support of coalition troops in Afghanistan.
Since retiring from the New York State Police in 2015, Carraher has served as a full-time Air National Guard officer.
As a New York State Trooper, Carraher served in the State Police aviation unit. He served as second in command of the State Police flight unit and served as executive pilot to the governor.
Carraher holds a Bachelor of Arts in Geography and a Master of Arts Degree in Geography from SUNY Albany.
He is a graduate of the Air Force Command and Staff College and the Air War College.
Carraher's military awards include the Air Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, and the Aerial Achievement Medal.
His wife Jennifer teaches English as a New Language teacher at Genet Elementary School in East Greenbush and his daughter Cassandra is a sophomore at Emma Willard School in Troy