Missouri Air Guard chief of staff marks end of Missouri service

Air Force Col. Greg Champagne (third from right), the commander of 131st Bomb Wing, Col. Michael Pankau (second from right), the commander of 139th Airlift Wing, and Col. Richard Chapman (right), deputy commander of 157th Air Operations Group, present Brig. Gen. Jon “JB” Kelk with a personalized framed photograph of Ike Skelton Training Site. (Missouri National Guard photo by Sgt. Antony S. Lee/ 70th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

Air Force Col. Greg Champagne (third from right), the commander of 131st Bomb Wing, Col. Michael Pankau (second from right), the commander of 139th Airlift Wing, and Col. Richard Chapman (right), deputy commander of 157th Air Operations Group, present Brig. Gen. Jon "JB" Kelk with a personalized framed photograph of Ike Skelton Training Site. (Missouri National Guard photo by Sgt. Antony S. Lee/ 70th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

By Sgt. Antony S. Lee
ngmo.pao@us.army.mil

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Brig. Gen. Jon "JB" Kelk, the chief of staff of the Missouri Air National Guard, was honored during a farewell ceremony that marked the end of his distinguished service as a Missouri Guardsman.

Kelk said he enjoyed the opportunity to be in a position that influenced the Missouri Air National Guard and benefited the adjutant general, the state of Missouri, and the nation.

"Anything we can do to make life better for the men and women of the Missouri Air National Guard, that's been my focus," Kelk said.

He added that there have been a lot of changes and challenges to the Missouri Air National Guard and that he was proud of it becoming a full partner in the state mission. The Missouri Air National Guard responded to recent state emergencies such as flooding and the tornado in Joplin.

"It's been great to be a part of that," Kelk said. "What the Missouri Air National Guard does, they do better than anyone," Kelk said, pointing out the B-2 Spirit element at Whiteman Air Force Base, the C-130 wing in St. Joseph and the 157 Air Operations Group at Jefferson Barracks.

Kelk, who is from St. Louis, joined the Missouri Air National Guard in 1992 after 11 years of active duty service. During Operation Desert Storm, he was credited with the first aerial victory of the conflict. He has logged more than 4,000 flight hours on the A-D air superiority version of the F-15 Eagle, becoming the first U.S. pilot to do so in 2006.

Kelk served in many positions over his 20-year service for the Missouri Air National Guard, including flight commander, operations officer, operations group commander, and director of operations. He continued flying until three years ago and became the chief of staff in May 2010.

He recently took a position in the California Air National Guard as the assistant adjutant general and swore in on July 30. He will be working at the headquarters in Sacramento, Calif.

Maj. Gen. Stephen L. Danner, the adjutant general of the Missouri National Guard, commended Kelk on his service to Missouri and said he would be a big boost to the California National Guard.

"They had a need out there in California," Danner said. "Where he's going, he's got a tough job. But I tell you, they couldn't have a better leader out there."

Col. Tim Jones, the director of staff who worked for Kelk, said Kelk was a supportive officer who always stayed updated on his work.

"He's very professional, very engaged," Jones said. "It's California's gain, our loss."

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Air Force Col. Greg Champagne (third from right), the commander of 131st Bomb Wing, Col. Michael Pankau (second from right), the commander of 139th Airlift Wing, and Col. Richard Chapman (right), deputy commander of 157th Air Operations Group, present Brig. Gen. Jon “JB” Kelk with a personalized framed photograph of Ike Skelton Training Site. (Missouri National Guard photo by Sgt. Antony S. Lee/ 70th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

Air Force Col. Greg Champagne (third from right), the commander of 131st Bomb Wing, Col. Michael Pankau (second from right), the commander of 139th Airlift Wing, and Col. Richard Chapman (right), deputy commander of 157th Air Operations Group, present Brig. Gen. Jon "JB" Kelk with a personalized framed photograph of Ike Skelton Training Site. (Missouri National Guard photo by Sgt. Antony S. Lee/ 70th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

Air Force Brig. Gen. Jon “JB” Kelk gives his farewell address during a ceremony at Ike Skelton Training Site on Saturday. He has taken a position in the California Air National Guard as the assistant adjutant general. (Missouri National Guard photo by Sgt. Antony S. Lee/ 70th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

Air Force Brig. Gen. Jon "JB" Kelk gives his farewell address during a ceremony at Ike Skelton Training Site on Saturday. He has taken a position in the California Air National Guard as the assistant adjutant general. (Missouri National Guard photo by Sgt. Antony S. Lee/ 70th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)


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