Lt. Col. Joelee D. Sessions assumes command of the new 156th Contingency Response Group

  • Published
  • By Capt. Claudia Villasenor
  • 156th Wing

MUNIZ AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Puerto Rico — U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Joelee D. Sessions assumed command of the new 156th Contingency Response Group during a ceremony held here, March 14, 2020.

Sessions is a command pilot with more than 7,000 hours on both military and civilian aircraft. He started his Air Force enlisted career in 1991 as a pneudraulic systems specialist with the Mississippi Air National Guard and later commissioned in 1994. After completing pilot training at Laughlin Air Force Base in 1997, he served as a C-141 and C-17 Command/Instructor pilot and participated in several operational deployments including Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn.

In June 2015, Sessions became the 172nd Contingency Response flight commander with the Mississippi ANG. Through his participation in several joint military exercises and active response to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, Sessions has become well known with the contingency response community as a subject matter expert.

Among the distinguished guests present for this historic ceremony were leadership of the Puerto Rico Air National Guard, newly assigned Airmen of the 156th CRG and Sessions’ wife, Bridgett, two of his three children, Brody and Kolby. Sessions daughter, Airman Baylee Sessions, could not be present for the ceremony since she was attending C-17 loadmaster training at Altus AFB, Oklahoma. The presiding officer overseeing the ceremony was the 156th Wing Commander, Col. Peter M. Boone, who addressed the audience on the reasons Sessions was the best choice for this job.  

“Joelee has the expertise, work ethic, vision and drive to take us into the future with the new CRG mission,” said Boone. “He has been engaged to get the equipment, resources, and personnel structure right for our new mission. Right now, he is building the CRG that will be the future benchmark structure for the entire Air National Guard. I have full confidence in his leadership and abilities, and am truly honored to serve with him in our PRANG.”

Sessions, the new commander for the 156th CRG, addressed the audience after assuming command. Sessions began with thanking his family for their support in pursuing this leadership position and expressing his appreciation to the PRANG leadership for granting him the honor of being a member of the 156th CRG. Sessions concluded with addressing the newly assigned CRG Airmen in Spanish to emphasize how their contributions will shape the new future of the PRANG.  

“Change is challenging, but your footsteps today will echo on these grounds for generations to come,” said Sessions. “You are laying the groundwork for thousands of Puerto Ricans to have the honor and privilege to serve in the greatest military in the world. It is my honor to serve the Puerto Rico Air National Guard and the 156th Wing.”

Contingency response forces are used to rapidly deploy and establish air mobility operations for both domestic operations and foreign contingency response. The CRG is also utilized to provide quick reaction logistical support for humanitarian missions including man-made and natural disasters.

“Besides building a highly capable and highly available CRG, which includes an air advisor squadron, one of my top priorities is building a premier leadership environment,” said Sessions. “My expectation among every member of my unit is to develop a strong sense of teamwork and camaraderie as we build the best contingency response capability in the Air Force.”