July 6, 2012

61st ABG welcomes new commander

by Alicia Garges
Los Angeles AFB, Calif.

Col. Samuel McNiel is the 61st Air Base Group’s new commander.

The 61st Air Base Group at Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., has a new commander.

Col. Sam McNiel assumed command of the group from Col. Frank Simcox at a June 29 ceremony.

Commissioned in 1989 through the Air Force’s Officer Training School, the colonel has held a variety of space-related staff and operations positions during his career. He comes to Los Angeles AFB after a tour as deputy staff director at the State Department’s Nuclear Risk Reduction Center.

Simcox is moving on to a new assignment at Barksdale AFB, La. He was the ABG commander since August 2010.

The 61st Air Base Group provides administrative and base services. The group was reactivated in 2010 after the 61st Air Base Wing was deactivated. The 61st can trace its linage back to World War II.


Col. Samuel McNiel, new 61st ABG commander, receives the group’s flag from Lt. Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski during the 61st Air Base Group’s change of command ceremony, June 29.

Lt. Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski, SMC commander; Col. Frank Simcox, outgoing 61st ABG commander; and Col. Samuel McNiel, incoming 61st ABG commander; salute the flag during the 61st Air Base Group’s change of command ceremony, June 29.

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