Green takes command of 104th Fighter Wing at Barnes

  • Col. Peter T. Green III speaks during a change in command ceremony at Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield, Sunday. STAFF PHOTO/SCOTT MERZBACH

Staff Writer
Published: 8/5/2018 9:15:51 PM

WESTFIELD — After 36 years in a variety of roles at Barnes Air National Guard Base, Col. Peter T. Green III is taking leadership of the 104th Fighter Wing.

At a change of command ceremony on the base Sunday, in front of 1,000 of the base’s personnel and many family members and guests, including past commanders, Mayor Brian P. Sullivan and state Sen. Donald F. Humason Jr., Green formally succeeded Col. James M. Suhr as commander of the base.

“I am humbled by the opportunity to lead this wing,” Green said during the hour-long ceremony held in one of the base’s large hangars. “I have always been proud to be a Barnestormer and to serve with the men and women of this unit.”

Green, who lives in Southwick with wife Kathy, spent the past three years as vice commander at Barnes. Suhr, who led the base for 18 months, is now working at the Pentagon as the secretary of the Air Force’s Legislative Liaison office.

Green said his objective will be to achieve mission success, deliver on making Barnes the most respected fighter unit in the Combat Air Forces, to maintain the family-like feel and to continue what has been its motto: “If you want to know how to do it right, call on Barnes.”

Air National Guard Director Lt. Gen. L. Scott Rice said Green is “the best of the best,” citing the American Airman’s Creed in calling him a “wingman, leader, warrior.”

“He is the right leader to take the wing into what will be a bright and exciting future, and ensure we continue to develop the next generation of leaders responsible for a sound strategic vision and plan,” said Maj. Gen. Gary W. Keeffe, the adjutant general of Massachusetts National Guard.

Keefe described Green as process-oriented and ready to develop a master plan so that the base will continue to support 21 F-15C Eagle aircraft and the next generation of aircraft for the foreseeable future.

“The worst day would be if the 104th flag is no longer flying,” Keefe said.

“There couldn’t be a more well-rounded person who knows every issue in this wing and this state,” said Brig. Gen. James M. LeFavor, commander of the Massachusetts Air National Guard.

LeFavor observed that he has confidence in Green to maintain combat readiness and continue the goal of turning enemy aircraft into enemy rubbish.

“You’re going to take the wing to greatness,” LeFavor said.

Green was chosen for the assignment based on previous unit commands and senior leadership assignments at Barnes and the Massachusetts National Guard Joint Force Headquarters.

Green’s service includes combat and combat support deployments supporting Operations Southern Watch, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. His civilian career includes serving as director of human resources and training and assistant vice president of brand strategy and integration with CIGNA.

Green earned his undergraduate degree in communications at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and his master’s degree in science in industrial and organizational psychology at Springfield College.

Suhr, who was presented a Legion of Merit award, will be in a position both to educate and advocate for the Air National Guard in Washington, Keefe said.

“I want to thank him for all he has done and will continue to do for the 104th Fighter Wing, the Massachusetts Air National Guard, and the F-15 Community,” Keefe said.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at

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