Col. Kurt Gallegos accepted command of the 944th Fighter Wing from Maj. Gen. William Binger, 10th Air Force commander, in front of an audience of family, community members and 944th FW personnel during a change-of-command ceremony held Sunday at Luke Air Force Base.
Gallegos returns to Luke 20 years after first being stationed here 1991 through 1992 as a student at the 56th Fighter Wing F-16 Replacement Unit.
Gallegos entered the Air Force in 1986 after receiving his commission through the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps at Utah State University. Prior to assuming his current position, Gallegos was the 301st Operations Group commander, Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Texas. He is a command pilot with 5,300 flying hours and has more than 462 combat hours serving in Operations Southern Watch, Allied Force, Deliberate Forge, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.
“I always said it’s not what you achieve or how much money you have that defines success, but who surrounds you. To be surrounded by family and friends, that’s the true measure of success in life, and having you all here with me today is what makes this day great,” said Gallegos. “It is an honor and a privilege to command the 944th Fighter Wing. I look forward to the opportunities we will have together.
In his remarks, Binger spoke about departing wing commander, Col. Jose Monteagudo, who will move on to be the mobilization assistant to the director of plans and programs at Air Combat Command Headquarters at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va.
“His leadership and mentorship have taken this unit to the next level,” Binger said.
Monteagudo shared his thoughts about leaving the 944th FW. “I can’t begin to tell you how great you have been, and I know you will continue to be great for Colonel Gallegos. Looking at the past and to the future, I know I will never have a better job than commanding the 944th.”