LOUISVILLE, Ky. –
Lt. Col. Jerry Zollman took charge of the 123rd Maintenance Group during a change-of-command ceremony at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base here Sept. 11.
Zollman, who previously served as inspector general for the 123rd Airlift Wing, replaces Col. Ash Groves, who has been named director of the Air staff at Joint Force Headquarters—Kentucky.
“Jerry, welcome and congratulations,” said Col. Bruce Bancroft, 123rd Airlift Wing commander, who officiated the ceremony. “We’re all extremely proud to see you step into this position. There could not be a better, more well-rounded officer to become commander.”
Bancroft then expressed his appreciation for Zollman’s oversight during a recent Air Mobility Command appraisal.
“Our entire wing owes you a heartfelt thank-you for your leadership through an incredibly successful inspection. You have my sincere gratitude.”
Groves also praised Zollman, who has spent nearly 30 years in the aircraft maintenance career field, as a natural fit to lead the unit while it completes a conversion from C-130H to C-130J Super Hercules aircraft.
“I know the caliber of officer that Jerry Zollman is,” Groves said. “I am convinced that there is no one more prepared to take on this role. My goal is always that every organization I leave trades up — and they traded up with this one.”
Groves concluded by rendering his final salute to the Airmen of the 123rd Maintenance Group before passing the unit guideon to Zollman, officially marking the transfer of power.
Upon receiving the guidon, Zollman rendered his first salute as commander and addressed the audience.
“I’m honored to be a part of this historic unit, and I am here to embrace the challenges that this position brings with it,” Zollman said. “I had the opportunity to watch Col. Groves in this position, and he has been one of the best commanders I’ve seen. I can’t thank (him) enough for the position (he) left this unit in.
“Looking forward, as we finish this conversion to the C-130J, we have to focus on our newest challenge, which is to train as we fight. Together we will continue to maintain the highest standard of aircraft maintenance so that we can respond any time and anywhere.
“To the men and women of the 123rd Maintenance Group, I have never felt more welcomed and accepted. I am looking forward to working with each and every one of you.”
Zollman enlisted in the active-duty Air Force in November 1988. His first assignment was the 325th Equipment Maintenance Squadron at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida. In August 1991, Zollman accepted a Palace Chase transfer to the 122nd Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Indiana Air National Guard, as an F-4E structural repair specialist.
In 1994, he transferred to the 238th Aviation Brigade, Indiana Army National Guard, where he served as a helicopter airframe mechanic. One year later, Zollman joined the Kentucky Air Guard’s 123rd Maintenance Squadron as an aircraft structural repair specialist.
He received a commission in September 2004, and was given command of the 123d Maintenance Operations Flight here. Between July 2006 and January 2015, Zollman served as an aircraft maintenance officer in both the 123rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and the 123rd Maintenance Squadron. In January 2015, he was named commander of the 123rd Maintenance Squadron. Prior to his current position, Zollman served as director of complaints resolution for the 123rd Airlift Wing.
Zollman has served in support of numerous operations and contingencies, including operation Coronet Avenger, Coronet Oak, Joint Forge, Southern Watch, Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.