148th Fighter Wing receives new commander

Col. Jon S. Safstrom accepts command of 148th Fighter Wing, Duluth, Minn. from  Brig. Gen. David D. Hamlar, Assistant Adjutant General, Minnesota National Guard, Nov. 14, 2015. Safstrom assumed command from Col. Frank H. Stokes who accepted a position at the National Guard Bureau, Arlington, Va. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Amie Muller/released)

Col. Jon S. Safstrom accepts command of 148th Fighter Wing, Duluth, Minn. from Brig. Gen. David D. Hamlar, Assistant Adjutant General, Minnesota National Guard, Nov. 14, 2015. Safstrom assumed command from Col. Frank H. Stokes who accepted a position at the National Guard Bureau, Arlington, Va. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Amie Muller/released)

Col. Jon S. Safstrom addresses Airmen from the 148th Fighter Wing, Duluth, Minn. for the first time as their new wing commander, Nov. 14, 2015. Safstrom assumed command from Col. Frank H. Stokes who accepted a position at the National Guard Bureau, Arlington, Va. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Amie Muller/released)

Col. Jon S. Safstrom addresses Airmen from the 148th Fighter Wing, Duluth, Minn. for the first time as their new wing commander, Nov. 14, 2015. Safstrom assumed command from Col. Frank H. Stokes who accepted a position at the National Guard Bureau, Arlington, Va. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Amie Muller/released)

Col. Frank H. Stokes addresses the Airmen of the 148th Fighter Wing, Duluth, Minn. and guests after relinquishing command of the Wing, Nov. 14, 2015. Col. Jon S. Safstrom assumed command from Stokes who accepted a position at the National Guard Bureau, Arlington, Va. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Amie Muller/released)

Col. Frank H. Stokes addresses the Airmen of the 148th Fighter Wing, Duluth, Minn. and guests after relinquishing command of the wing, Nov. 14, 2015. Col. Jon S. Safstrom assumed command from Stokes who accepted a position at the National Guard Bureau, Arlington, Va. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Amie Muller/released)

Airmen from the 148th Fighter Wing, Duluth, Minn. and guests stand at attention before Col. Jon S. Safstrom accepts command of the Wing, Nov. 14, 2015. Safstrom assumed command from Col. Frank H. Stokes who accepted a position at the National Guard Bureau, Arlington, Va. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Amie Muller/released)

Airmen from the 148th Fighter Wing, Duluth, Minn. and guests stand at attention before Col. Jon S. Safstrom accepts command of the wing, Nov. 14, 2015. Safstrom assumed command from Col. Frank H. Stokes who accepted a position at the National Guard Bureau, Arlington, Va. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Amie Muller/released)

DULUTH, Minn. -- The 148th Fighter Wing's leadership changed hands during a ceremony Nov. 14, 2015 at the 148th Fighter Wing's main hangar, marking the end of Col. Frank H. Stokes' tenure as Wing Commander at the 148th, and the beginning of the next chapter of Col. Jon S. Safstrom's career as he steps into his new role.

"When I was thinking of what my vision would be for the future here, I wanted to keep it simple--I came across a quote from Satchel Paige--he was a famous baseball player from the 40's and 50's," said Safstrom.  "Someone asked him, 'what's your philosophy on pitching?'  He said, 'Step up, throw strikes. Plate don't move.'"

A Duluth native, Safstrom began his military career in the U.S. Navy in 1988, and later became a member of the 148th Fighter Wing in 1998.  Safstrom has deployed twice in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and is a command pilot with more than 3,500 flying hours.

"Men and women of the 148th Fighter Wing, fellow bulldogs, I am humbled and honored to be standing here in front of you as your commander, truly," said Safstrom.  "We have the best equipment and resources our great nation has to offer, and ultimately it's the people, the bulldogs of the 148th, that really perform the mission and make the impact.  You've done so well for so long that it's our culture here."

Col. Stokes' career continues as he takes on the role of chief of current operations at the National Guard Bureau in Arlington, Virginia after spending six years as the 148th Fighter Wing commander.

"Bulldogs, thanks for making me the most envied commander in the National Guard," said Stokes. "You're going to do the same for Jon Safstrom. I look forward to reading about your future success and watching you continue to impress the leaders of our nation."

Safstrom noted that the 148th is operating at a high level, with many successes due to the leadership of Col. Stokes, and the efforts of the Bulldogs.

"So, we're going to continue to throw strikes," said Safstrom.  "Our plate, our mission may change a little bit, but it continues to be where it is right here in the state of Minnesota and for our nation.  With your help, we'll continue to throw strikes."