127th Ops Group Group Changes Command

  • Published
  • By 127th Public Affairs
Michigan Air National Guard's 127th Operations Group and 107th Fighter Squadron held a change of command ceremony Sunday, as Lt. Col. Leonard Isabelle Jr. assumed command of the group in front of a formation of the group's F-16 pilots, maintenance and support personnel and other wing officers and airmen.

Lt. Col. Isabelle enlisted in the Michigan Air National Guard in 1986, and became an officer in 1987. He has approximately 2,350 flying hours in the F-16, and has held numerous positions in the Operations Group including, squadron scheduler, deployment project officer, assistant flight commander, instructor pilot, flight commander and operations support flight commander. He has flown combat missions on five overseas deployments in support of Operations Southern Watch, Northern Watch, and Iraqi Freedom. Lt. Col. Isabelle most recently served as commander of the 127th Maintenance Squadron, which maintains the F-16 aircraft for the 107th Fighter Squadron which provides battlefield air interdiction, close air support and Homeland Defense operations. Lt. Col. Isabelle is a traditional-status guardsman and Michigan native.

At the ceremony held yesterday, Isabelle told the airmen witnessing the change of leadership, "These are exciting times to be in the Air National Guard. Obviously the aircraft conversion involves not only training to fly and maintain a new airframe, but also a change in mindset as we go forth with the new mission."

Lt. Col. Isabelle was replaced in his former role by Lt. Col. Rolf Mammen. Mammen, a former C-130 pilot with over 3000 flying hours, has been in the Michigan Air National Guard since 1994. Prior to that he was active duty, gaining his commission through the Air Force Reservce Officer Training Corps (ROTC) at Michigan State University. He has flown the C-130 on numerous missions to the Pacific, South and Central America and Europe. Most recently, his role with the 127th Wing was as Inspector General, providing assistance through investigations, inquiries and training in order to enhance mission readiness and improve effectiveness, efficiency, discipline, and morale of the units and airmen assigned to the 127th Wing. Lt. Col. Mammen takes command of the largest of the 127th Wing's squadrons, currently composed of 215 Airmen in fifteen different functional areas of maintenance. 

After accepting the flag of the 127th Operations Group as commander, Lt Col Isabelle also reminded the audience of his newest subordinates, "The Operations Group has a proud heritage of service to our country. I can promise you the next few years will be the most stimulating and demanding of your entire careers."

The leadership changes come as the unit prepares for a conversion to A-10 aircraft in the next few months, which was mandated by Base Realignment and Closure law of 2005. A-10 aircraft will begin to arrive at Selfridge in the coming weeks, with personnel training away at Air Force technical schools and other A-10 locations throughout the United States. The 127th Wing plans to have the ramps at Selfridge filled with A-10s by early next summer, flying its training locally at that time.