The End of an Era at the 125th Fighter Wing

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Jaclyn Lyons
  • 125th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Since 1976 the Florida Air National Guard has seen change in almost every aspect of the organization. Three different aircraft have been flown, dozens of group and wing commanders have come and gone, new missions arose, and buildings have been demolished while new ones were built.

All of this change revealed a steady, selfless and caring leader who was always there to help guide new Airmen, advise new commanders and above all -- take care of the people.

Leaving a legacy of integrity, service and respect, Col. Ronald G. Corey, 125th Fighter Wing Maintenance Group Commander, retired yesterday after a 39-year career in the Florida Air National Guard (FANG).

Corey followed in his father's footsteps and enlisted in the FANG in 1976 as a Weapons Systems Control Mechanic. In 1982, he was selected as a Munitions Officer and over the next 30 years went on to lead various squadrons and groups to include Aircraft Generation Squadron, Logistics Readiness Squadron, Mission Support Group and Maintenance Group.

No matter which group or squadron he was leading, he always brought his genuine concern for all of the Airmen in the FANG. There was never a task too small or below him, even as a colonel he was the first to jump up to help with the simplest of tasks. Corey spearheaded nearly all family days, holiday parties and morale events to ensure the Guard was a family affair.

"Between myself, my father and my sister, we have more than 100 years of service in the Florida Air National Guard," said Corey. "Joining this organization began as a family tradition but after 39 years the organization--became my family."

Family members, prior and current commanders, chiefs, retirees and wing personnel gathered in the hangar to witness Corey receive the Legion of Merit (an elite award given for outstanding service and achievements), the Florida Cross and his retirement certificate. 

Corey was also presented with a shadowbox containing all of his awards, decorations and rank insignia from his career.  He thanked, by name, many of the people who helped shape his career over the decades and concluded by thanking all of the Airmen he has had the privilege of serving. 

"His legacy and impact will live on here long after this day," said Col. Brian Simpler, 125th Fighter Wing Commander. "He is a leader who has built this wing into what it is today."

Corey culminated his career by selflessly delaying his retirement by several months to lead his Maintenance Group through their recent Air Force inspection--they received an unprecedented 'Highly Effective' rating.