Carrying on a family tradition – Force Support Squadron gets a new commander
By Staff Sgt. Kristi McDonald
/ Published June 16, 2017
NORTH KINGSTOWN, RI -- A feeling of pride filled the entire room on Saturday of the June 2017 regularly scheduled drill (RSD) during an assumption of command ceremony at Quonset Air National Guard Base. Major Edward Oullette Jr. stood ready to take his new position as commander of the 143d Force Support Squadron (FSS), leaving behind a remarkable more than 20-year career in Finance. The assumption of command ceremony, rich in history, was a unique one; Ouellette would be assuming command and filling the same position that his father, retired Lieutenant Colonel Edward Ouellette Sr. held before his retirement. Rounding out the family participation, Airman 1st Class Dylan Oullette, 143d Maintenance Squadron, the son of the younger Ouellette was the master of ceremonies. Colonel Thomas Hannon, 143d Mission Support Group Commander described the event as “unique” and “historic” in his speech focusing on the immense family dedication to the 143d Airlift Wing (AW) over the years. Hannon said, “The Oullette family has been a big part of the base for a number of years. Between the three men, they have a combined total of 68 years of dedicated service to our country and community.”
Retired Lt. Col. Oullette proudly anticipated his son taking on this new position and reminisced as Colonel Hannon spoke of his career and the contributions of the whole Ouellette family to the 143d Airlift Wing. The elder Ouellette began his career in the Army in 1967 and transferred to the Air National Guard (ANG) a few short years later. His prestigious career spanned over four decades through various positions including, commander of the 143d Mission Support Flight which would later become the Force Support Squadron. When asked, he said, “The ceremony today and the feelings that came along with it are hard to describe. I would have never imagined that both my son and my grandson would be in the positions that they are now. I could not be any more proud of their accomplishments.” He also went on to explain that he did not have much influence on their decision to join the military that it was a decision that both his son and grandson made on their own. “When they came to me and asked me if they should join, I told them that they would be a good fit and it would give them some direction in life.” he added.
As the ceremony transitioned to the traditional passing of the guidon, A1C Oullette first read the history of the Assumption of Command Ceremony explaining its significance. He went on to talk about the contributions that members of the FSS make to the state and community, “Everyone’s career starts and ends with FSS, from enlistment to development to deployment and finally, separation or retirement. FSS is highly regarded throughout the state and has a reputation of being a premier customer based unit.” When asked about his thoughts on his father’s new position, Dylan said “I am really excited to see my dad assume this position. He has been doing the same job for a while and I definitely feel he needs a change of pace. This is a great opportunity for him to switch things up and I know he will excel.”
Following the passing of the guidon, symbolizing his assumption of the duties as commander of the the 143 FSS, Maj. Oullette took the stage to speak. He was quick to thank his family for the support and allowing him the opportunity to make it to this point in his career. He looks forward to doing great things for FSS and the entire wing and working with finance in a different capacity. He promised to always be an advocate and cheerleader for his subordinates with an open door policy. “My expectations as commander of FSS are simple and they go by the Air Force core values, integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all we do. Strive to be the best.” he said. To close the ceremony, the new Force Support Squadron Commander ended with a quote from Socrates, “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”