Space Launch unit welcomes new commander

Written by  //  October 16, 2012  //  Feature Stories

By Maj. James Evans
Florida National Guard Public Affairs

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (Oct. 13, 2012) —The 114th Range Operations Squadron (ROPS) welcomed its new commander during a change of command ceremony in Cocoa Beach, October 13.

Commander of the Florida Air National Guard Brig. Gen. Joseph Balskus (left) passes the 114th Range Operations Squadron guidon to Lt. Col. John Malpass during a change of command ceremony, Oct. 13, 2012. Photo by Master Sgt. Chad Guillet

Lt. Col. John Malpass assumed command of the Florida Air National Guard unit from Lt. Col. Todd Oller, during a ceremony attended by the unit and military leaders including Commander of the Florida Air National Guard Brig. Gen. Joseph Balskus and Chief of Staff – Air, Brig. Gen. Robert Branyon

Recounting the proud history of the unit and lauding its visionaries, Balskus told the outgoing commander, “Todd, you took it to new levels. We’re proud of you.”

Oller, who is retiring from the Florida Air National Guard in November, recalled how much that has been accomplished during his tenure and noted the 114th did it “professionally, competently and with a great attitude.”  He added: “You guys make me proud and we did it as a family.”

Oller was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal by Balskus for his distinguished command of the 114th ROPS.

Balskus also praised the new commander’s extensive experience,  noting that Malpass was well prepared for command.

Malpass, who recently served as the squadron’s Operations Officer, thanked the 114th Airmen for allowing him the opportunity to serve as their commander.  “I hope I lead with the same wisdom as the previous commanders,” he said. “…you make me very proud.”

Malpass received his commission from the Reserve Officer Training Corps upon graduation from the University of North Carolina Greensboro in 1995. He has served at the Wing and joint staff levels in various capacities during his 17 year career.