Columbus native serves aboard USS Lake Erie


Staff Report



SAN DIEGO – A 2013 Licking Heights High School graduate and Columbus, Ohio native is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the guided missile cruiser, USS Lake Erie.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Mark Grizer is a damage controlman aboard the Ticonderoga class guided-missile cruiser operating out of San Diego.

A Navy damage controlman is responsible for performing organizational and intermediate level maintenance and repair of damage control equipment and systems.

“My favorite part about my job is the fact that I get to train the entire crew on how to fight casualties on board the ship,” said Grizer.

Commissioned in July of 1993, Erie is 567 feet long and is powered by four gas turbines that allow the cruiser to achieve over 30 mph in open seas. Cruisers are tactical multi-mission combatants capable of supporting carrier battle groups, amphibious forces and can operate independently or as the flagship of a surface action group. The ship is equipped with a vertical launching system, tomahawk missiles, torpedoes, 54 caliber guns and phalanx close-in weapons systems.

With a crew of over 300 sailors, jobs are highly specialized and keep each part of the cruiser running smoothly, according to Navy officials. The jobs range from washing dishes and preparing meals to maintaining engines and handling weaponry.

“The people on this ship are really great,” said Grizer. “I get to serve my country with some of the greatest people I have ever met and see the world.”

Challenging living conditions build strong fellowship among the crew, Navy officials explained. The crew is highly motivated, and quickly adapt to changing conditions. It is a busy life of specialized work, watches, and drills.

“Serving in the Navy, I am able to do my service to my fellow Americans,” said Grizer. “I get the opportunity to follow the paths of ones that have served before, with, and after me. That’s an incredible feeling.”

Assumption of Command for 200th RED HORSE Squadron

MANSFIELD — Ohio Air National Guard members from the 200th RED HORSE Squadron, Camp Perry, Ohio, performed an official Assumption of Command ceremony for the new squadron commander Col. Daniel L. Tack, April 1, 2017.

With Brig.Gen. Gregory N. Schnulo, Assistant Adjutant General for Air, Ohio, as the presiding official, Tack took the ceremonial guidon as he became the 10th Commander of the Air National Guard Unit.

Prior to this assignment, Tack served as the Vice Wing Commander for the 179th Airlift Wing in Mansfield. The 179AW is comprised of approximately 1,000 personnel who operate and support C-130H airlift missions across the globe.

Tack graduated from Oak Harbor High School in 1992 and was commissioned in 1996. His first five years of service were with the Ohio Army National Guard and joined the Ohio Air National Guard May 2001. He served as 179AW Civil Engineering Squadron, Commander; 200th RED HORSE Squadron Detachment 1, Commander; 200th RED HORSE Squadron, Deputy Commander; 179AW Mission Support Group, Commander.

Tack has participated in numerous stateside and overseas deployments to include Operations NEW HORIZONS, IRAQI FREEDOM, ENDURING FREEDOM, and Ohio’s State Partnership program with Serbia and Hungary.

Change of Command at the 179th Airlift Wing

MANSFIELD — Ohio Air National Guard members from the 179th Airlift Wing (AW), Mansfield, Ohio, performed an Official Change of Command Ceremony for the Maintenance Group Commander April 2, 2016. Col. Todd K. Thomas passed the ceremonial guidon to Lt. Col. Kenneth Kmetz as he became the newest group commander at the Air National Guard Unit.

Thomas served as the 179th AW Maintenance Group Commander since February 2013, and now serves as the 179th Airlift Wing Vice Commander.

Kmetz enlisted in 1986 with the 179th Airlift Group, Civil Engineering Squadron as a firefighter. His experience includes service in Civil Engineering Squadron, Group First Sergeant, Group Staff Officer, Services Flight, Security Forces Squadron, Director of Personnel, and Aircraft Maintenance.

After graduating from The Ohio State University Summa Cum Laude in 1998, he received his commission and served as the 179th Support Group Executive Officer. In 2000, Kmetz assumed command of the 179th Services Flight that was named the 2003 ANG’s Services Flight of the Year and earned an “Excellent” rating on their AMC Unit Compliance Inspection.

In 2004, he assumed command of the 179th Security Forces Squadron. In 2005, he became the 179th’s Director of Personnel and led the conversion to the Force Support Squadron and his organization earned the 2008 Gerrit Foster Jr. Outstanding MPF Achievement Award.

Kmetz became the 179th Airlift Wing’s Maintenance Group Deputy Commander and led L3 Contract Maintenance teams on the C-27J Spartan. Further, he led the bridge mission in performing Isochronal Inspections on C-130Hs, achieved an “Outstanding” rating during the AMC IG LCAP, and led conversion efforts to the C-130H2 aircraft.

As the 121st Maintenance Group Commander, he was responsible for safe generation of 12 KC-135R aircraft and the readiness of more than 300 maintainers. At the 121st, he enabled “Global Reach” in support of multiple expeditionary mobilizations, the delivery of more than 55 million pounds of fuel, and an “Effective” rating during the Group’s first Unit Effectiveness Inspection.

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Staff Report

Information for this story was provided by the U.S. Navy and Ohio National Guard.

Information for this story was provided by the U.S. Navy and Ohio National Guard.