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New commander set to lead Arizona F-16 fighter wing

TUCSON, Ariz -- The Adjutant General of the Arizona National Guard announced Oct. 9 a new leader for the 162nd Fighter Wing at Tucson International Airport.

Col. Howard "Philip" Purcell will serve as commander of the Arizona Air National Guard's international F-16 Fighting Falcon training wing. Colonel Purcell is currently the vice wing commander of the 192nd Fighter Wing, Virginia Air National Guard. He is a veteran of Operations Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom with 26 years of service and more than 3,000 flying hours in the F-16 and F-22 Raptor.

Purcell will be the wing's 12th commanding officer since its inauguration in 1956, and will replace Brig. Gen. Michael "Mick" McGuire who departed the wing Sept. 7 to assume duties as Adjutant General.

"Colonel Purcell is a combat veteran, a professional officer, and proven leader who brings a wealth of command and staff experience to the 162nd Fighter Wing," said General McGuire. "His F-16, F-22 and counter insurgency experience make him ideally suited to lead the 162nd in current and future mission sets."

Details concerning Colonel Purcell's assumption of command will be announced when available.