Metro-East News

Former 126th ARW commander named new Illinois National Guard chief of Joint Staff

In a change of command ceremony Sunday, Scott Air Force Base bid farewell to the commander of the 126th Air Refueling Wing.

Col. Peter Nezamis relinquished command of the wing in lieu of a position serving as the Illinois National Guard chief of Joint Staff, which oversees five Army elements and three Air Force wings, coordinating activity and training around the world. In his new role, he'll supervise the Joint Staff and coordinate activities with other military services and other countries and their militaries.

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Brigadier Gen. Peter Nezamis Courtesy photo

In 2006, Nezamis took command of the 126th, which serves to provide air refueling support to the Air Force and other U.S. military forces. Prior to that, he flew in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, among many others. He has more than 5,100 flying hours, including 110 combat hours and 150 combat support hours.

Col. Jeffrey Jacobson, who has been the vice commander of the wing since 2016, took over as the new commander of the 126th.

Nezamis and Jacobson spoke at the ceremony, both thanking the base and their families for continued support.

Former Congressman Jerry Costello also attended the ceremony. In 1995, Costello spearheaded the Base Realignment and Closure Commission, which moved the 126th wing from O'Hare International Airport to Scott Air Force Base.

Costello said with 1,100 employees, the 126th wing is important to the metro-east as well as the rest of the world.

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Col. Jeffrey Jacobson Courtesy photo

"The 126th means a great deal to the region as far as the economy is concerned," Costello said Sunday. "They play an integral part not only in the National Guard but throughout the world in assisting our military and branches of the military. They do an excellent job as you can see from the awards they received today."

On Saturday, Nezamis piloted his final flight before relinquishing command.