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New commander welcomed to Grand Forks Air Force Base in military ceremony

Col. Timothy Curry is the second commander of the base since it was re-designated as the 319th Reconnaissance Wing from the 319th Air Base, two years ago Monday. Curry thanked previous commander

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Newly appointed 319th Reconnaissance Wing commander Col. Timothy Curry is presented the 319th Reconnaissance Wing guidon from Lt. Gen. Timothy Haugh while outgoing commander, Col. Cameron Pringle looks on Monday, June 28, 2021, at the change of command ceremony at the Grand Forks Air Force Base. Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald
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At a morning ceremony on Monday, June 28, Col. Timothy Curry, was welcomed as the newly-appointed commander of Grand Forks Air Force Base.

Curry is the second commander of the base since it was re-designated as the 319th Reconnaissance Wing from the 319th Air Base, two years ago Monday. Curry thanked previous commander Col. Cameron Pringle, and Lt. Gen. Timothy Haugh, commander of the 16th Air Force, as well as federal and local leaders, for the work they have done to support the new reconnaissance mission.

“Thank you for setting me up for success,” Curry said.

Monday’s ceremony, attended by nearly 300, marked a number of command-level changes at the base, including 10 incoming officers responsible for units ranging from operations, to medical and engineering. The ceremony also marked the 10-year anniversary of the arrival of the first Global Hawk unmanned reconnaissance vehicle, which arrived on May 26, 2011.

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Curry told the Herald that assuming command of the base is “intimidating,” and also a great responsibility, but that he has been well-prepared for the task.

“Our future was already bright but it gets brighter daily, is what I would say,” said Curry. “We have great attention from our senior leaders both on the civil side and the military side, so I’m very excited to be coming in at this time.”

Pringle, shortly before he formally relinquished command, said Grand Forks is “aggressively supportive” of the base and its personnel. He thanked gathered officials including Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., a representative from Republican Sen. John Hoeven’s office, Mayor Brandon Bochenski and UND President Andrew Armacost, for their efforts to support the Global Hawk mission. Pringle will go on to serve as an instructor at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C.

Early into his outgoing address, Pringle ordered airmen standing in formation to stand “at ease,” after four people became light-headed during the ceremony. One person appeared to lose consciousness, and fell to the concrete floor of the hangar where the ceremony was held, drawing audible gasps of concern. Those people were assisted out of the formation to receive medical treatment.

Speaking after Pringle, Curry gave the same order in his own remarks. Airmen standing in formation are required to stand “at attention” or at “parade rest,” rigorous postures that require concentration and physical effort. When the order to remain in a more comfortable stance was given, airmen could be seen shaking feeling back into their legs and arms.

The ceremony was concluded after Curry received the flag of command, gave his first salute as commander to personnel, and members sang the Airforce Song, some with great relish.

Biography: Col. Timothy Curry

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Curry graduated from the United State Air Force Academy in 1999, and has gone on to earn three master’s degrees.

He came to Grand Forks Air Force Base in June 2019, when he served as director of staff. Previously, he served as executive assistant and aide-de-camp to the chief of staff in Washington, D.C, and prior to that, as commander of the 867th Attack Squadron, in Creech Air Force Base, in Nevada.

He has received numerous decorations including the Meritorious Service Medal, and was promoted to colonel on Feb. 1, 2020.

Adam Kurtz is the community editor for the Grand Forks Herald. He covers higher education and other topics in Grand Forks County and the city.

Kurtz joined the Herald in July 2019. He covered business and county government topics before covering higher education and some military topics.

Tips and story ideas are welcome. Get in touch with him at akurtz@gfherald.com, or DM at @ByAdamKurtz.

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