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NEWS | May 21, 2020

Swansea, Illinois National Guardsman Appointed Director of Operations - Illinois Air National Guard


SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS – Illinois Air National Guard Lt. Col. Nicolas Henschel of Swansea, Illinois has been appointed as the new Director of Operations for the Illinois Air National Guard headquarters in Springfield, Illinois.

Henschel has served as Commander of the 126th Operations Support Squadron at the Illinois Air National Guard’s 126th Air Refueling Wing (ARW) at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois since March 2018. 

“I’m very excited for the opportunity to serve Illinois in this new capacity,” Henschel said.  “Being able to join the team in Springfield and continue flying with my friends and family from the 126th Air Refueling Wing is truly a dream come true.  I’m looking forward to partnering with the three Illinois Air National Guard Air Wings to help improve our operational readiness and achieve our state’s strategic objectives.”

Henschel joined the 126th ARW after graduating from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in 2002. He has spent his entire career with the 126th ARW as a KC-135 Stratotanker pilot and drill status National Guardsman. 

He has supported several humanitarian disasters and several overseas missions including: Operations Noble Eagle, Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, Odyssey Dawn, Unified Protector, Inherent Resolve and Freedom Sentinel.

 Henschel is also employed by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency as a Senior Executive, supporting the Department of Defense’s Aeronautical Safety of Navigation mission. 

“Nick has been an exemplary commander, aviator and officer for the 126th Air Refueling Wing his entire career,” said Brig. Gen. Peter Nezamis, Assistant Adjutant General –Air and Commander of the Illinois Air National Guard and its approximately 3,000 Airmen across the state.

“I personally watched him grow and excel with any task over the years and cannot think of a better person to fill this vital position on the headquarters staff. Nick is a graduated leader, joint officer and well-respected within the Air National Guard and his civilian occupation. We look forward to his tenure at Camp Lincoln in Springfield.”