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Government

Change Of Command At W.Va. Air Guard

Cochran assumes command of West Virginia Air National Guard
Edwin L. Wriston/West Virginia National Guard pho
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Original Digital Capture
Brig. Gen. David V. Cochran assumed command of the West Virginia Air National Guard from Brig. Gen. Ray M. Shepard during a formal change of command ceremony held July 28, 2021, at the 130th Airlift Wing, McLaughlin Air National Guard Base in Charleston. The ceremony recognized the formal transfer of responsibility, authority, and accountability for all WVANG operations in West Virginia from Shepard to Cochran, the second African American Assistant Adjutant General – Air in the state’s history. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Edwin L. Wriston)

Brig. Gen. David V. Cochran assumed command of the West Virginia Air National Guard (WVANG) from Brig. Gen. Ray Shepard in a formal change of command ceremony held at the 130th Airlift Wing, McLaughlin Air Force Base in Charleston.

Cochran became the second African American Assistant Adjutant General - Air in the state's history. The WVANG has over 2,150 members and consists of two flying units, the 130th Airlift Wing in Charleston, and the 167th Airlift Wing in Martinsburg.

Cochran will provide command and control over all Air National Guard forces assigned to the state and is the principal advisor to the Adjutant General on all matters related to the Air National Guard.

Brig. Gen. William “Bill” Crane, adjutant general of the West Virginia National Guard, presided over the ceremony formally promoting Cochran to his new responsibilities.

“Today, we celebrate Brig. Gen. Shepard for his time as commander of the [West Virginia] Air National Guard and celebrate his stewardship of this organization,” Crane said. “We also welcome Brig. Gen. Cochran as commander, taking on this large responsibility. He is an outstanding officer and leader and he will lead our airmen through these next chapters with the same tenacity he has given to this organization throughout his career.”

Cochran, a 32-year veteran of the military, including more than 22 years with the WVANG, said he is humbled to be named ATAG-Air.

“Our focus will be on preparing for the next fight, and it could be a big one,” Cochran said. “The success of our missions will be measured by our ability to maintain readiness and respond to the call. We’re only getting better, and we will be stronger tomorrow.”

Cochran was commissioned in May 1989 through the U.S. Air Force Academy and graduated the following year from pilot training at Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma. While on active duty with the Air Force, Cochran was involved in several global missions in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Eastern Africa.

Before his promotion to ATAG-Air, Cochran served as director of operations for the West Virginia Air National Guard. He previously served the 167th Airlift Wing, based in Martinsburg, in a number of leadership positions including as wing commander. He has logged more than 7,100 hours as a command pilot and has flown T-37, T-38, C-130E, C-130H3, C-21A, C-5A, and C-17 aircraft.

Cochran is a drill status Guardsman and will maintain his civilian employment as a pilot with United Airlines.


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