Cluck takes over as commander at Rosencrans

Col. John Cluck, middle, grasps the 139th Airlift Wing's flagpole during the official process of being named commander of the Air National Guard base. Col. Ed Black, far-right, served as commander beginning in 2017.

The 139th Airlift Wing at Rosecrans Memorial Airport is under new leadership with today's changing of the guard ceremony.

Col. John Cluck received the honor, being named commander of the Air National Guard base.

The new position is a humbling experience, Cluck said, and he hopes to present younger generations with the same opportunities he received. 

"I was 17 years old when I joined this and a member of a local community and didn't really have a chance," he said. "And I want to offer that same opportunity to every person in the area that wants to come and rise up to higher levels."

He takes over for Col. Ed Black, who is moving on to serve in a key directorate position that will influence the new Space Force military branch in Washington D.C.

Cluck's decades of knowledge have taught him there always will be unexpected situations down the road.

“I never want to challenge that I’ve seen it all because I haven’t," he said. "And we’ll just be ready for when they call again.”

Cluck said if he did it all again, he would not pass on any opportunity and do more to enjoy each moment that got him to this point.

“I never thought I would get here," he said. "I never thought this was a conversation, and I’d try to go back to that age and do it all over again. I’d do it instantly.”

Cluck has served more than 30 years so far in the Air National Guard with no plans to stop now.

Alexander Simone can be reached at alex.simone@newspressnow.com. Follow him on Twitter at @np_simone.

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