148th Fighter Wing Welcomes New Commander

DULUTH, Minn. – The 148th Fighter Wing of the Minnesota Air National Guard saw a change of command Saturday as one of their long-time members has risen in the ranks to become its latest Wing Commander.

Colonel Nathan Aysta is no stranger to the Northland.  He remembers seeing the 148th’s aircrafts flying the Iron Range skies growing up.  “It’s very exciting,” says Aysta.  “It’s almost surreal to say.  To be able to fly in the areas where you grew up is amazing.”

After a decade in the Air Force, he joined the 148th in 2010.  He has served as the 179th Fighter Squadron Commander, the 148th Operations Group Commander, as well as Chief of Weapons and Tactics, and an Instructional Pilot.

Aysta takes over for Brigadier General Chris Blomquist, who was promoted September 10 and became Chief of Staff for the Minnesota Air National Guard.

“Change is always hard on an organization,” says Aysta, “but I hope that they are excited for a new leader that brings possibly a new vision and a different perspective to the 148th.”

Aysta says he is looking to implement three priorities.  They include modernization of the fighter wing, as well as putting people first.  “Colonel Blomquist had this same type of attitude. I’m just going to take a different look at it as I lead this wing forward.”

Another priority will be maintaining and growing relationships in the community and throughout Minnesota, such as Leadership Duluth, fly-bys, the air show, and COVID responses.

Aysta says that shouldn’t be hard to continue.  “This is a very rare place, a unique and special place, where our neighbors and our community supports what we do. So we can spend our time and effort partnering with our community and moving forward on projects instead of having to fight each other on things.  So it makes it a lot easier to get our job done.”

Overall, Aysta says he is ready to serve and lead the over one-thousand Airmen of the 148th.  “I just want to support this wing, our community, the state, and the nation.”

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