Vice wing commander promoted to colonel Published July 9, 2009 By Capt. Gabe Johnson 162nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs TUCSON, Ariz. -- The vice commander of the largest Air National Guard fighter wing in the country was promoted to the rank of colonel here July 9. Col. Ted Maxwell, a full-time F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot with the 162nd Fighter Wing at Tucson International Airport, pinned on his new rank during a promotion ceremony in front of family, friends and fellow Guardsmen. He has served as the unit's second-in-command since March. "This promotion provides me greater opportunity to further support our wing members and the potential to have a little bit more influence and credibility outside of our wing," said the new colonel. "From that standpoint, hopefully, it will make me a more effective advocate for our wing in the future." Maxwell graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in 1984 receiving his commission and Bachelor of Science degree. Prior to joining the 162nd in September 1999, he served 15 years in the active duty Air Force as a T-38 instructor pilot, F-16 instructor pilot, Belgian exchange officer and as a staff officer at Air Combat Command. "I think my first assignment in fighters gave me a real understanding of the importance of the Air Force mission throughout the world, as well as, the necessity to care for our folks at all times. Sometimes we forget the impact that our jobs can have on our families," said Colonel Maxwell, referring to an assignment as a flight commander at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, in the early 1990s. At the 162nd, he is responsible for roughly 1,450 Arizona Air Guardsmen who maintain and operate 70 F-16s for the purpose of training aspiring fighter pilots from international partners including Poland, Singapore, Italy, Greece, Norway and the United Arab Emirates. "To me, the challenge of becoming a senior leader, especially the vice commander, means that my role will be to take care of our unit members, now and into the future. It is important to ensure that they not only have the proper equipment and environment to perform the job, but also that they have the appropriate level of responsibility to effectively accomplish our mission," he said. Over the last 20 years, the wing has trained more than 750 pilots from 23 of the 24 nations that fly the F-16. Maxwell trained many of them personally while commanding at both squadron and group levels within the wing.