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Published March 14, 2013, 02:53 PM

ND Guard's Happy Hooligans Get New Commander

The North Dakota Air National Guard has named Col. Kent Olson as the next commander of the Fargo-based 119th Wing.

FARGO – The North Dakota Air National Guard has named Col. Kent Olson as the next commander of the Fargo-based 119th Wing.

Olson currently serves as vice commander of the wing, nicknamed the Happy Hooligans. He will replace Col. Rick Gibney, who has been commander since December 2009.

Gibney, a command pilot with more than 4,000 operational flight hours, will step down and deploy to southwest Asia.

Olson will assume command of the wing during a ceremony at 10 a.m. Thursday at the Fargo base.

Olson, a command pilot with more than 3,100 hours of flight experience primarily in fighter aircraft, enlisted in the North Dakota Air National Guard in 1981, initially serving as an aircraft munitions systems specialist, the Guard stated in a news release.

As a fighter pilot, Olson took part in 1991 in Operation Coronet Nighthawk, where he was involved in numerous deployments to Central America for the next 10 years. He also was involved in Operation Noble Eagle, leading F-16 missions and flying combat air patrols across the nation, including over Washington, D.C.

Before becoming the 119th Wing’s vice commander, Olson served as the Operations Support Squadron commander, chief of safety, 178th Fighter Squadron operations officer, chief of standards and evaluations, chief of training, chief of wing plans and 178th Fighter Squadron life support officer.

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