Underwood achieves the rank of Colonel

  • Published
  • By Capt. Holli Nelson
  • 130th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The 130th Medical Group commander, J.D. Underwood II, was promoted to the rank of colonel during a formal promotion ceremony held Aug. 6, 2017 at McLaughlin Air National Guard Base, Charleston, W.Va.

Underwood assumed command of the 130th MDG in January and oversees the Airmen charged with providing real world medical support to the installation to ensure personnel are deployable for worldwide contingencies. He also commands the 130th AW Detachment 1 CBRNE-Enhanced Response Force Package or CERF-P, which is designed to provide search, extraction, medical triage and decontamination of casualties during CBRNE events as well as provide advice and assistance to state and federal key officials.

Col. Johnny Ryan, commander of the 130th Airlift Wing, presided over the ceremony and lauded Underwood’s leadership saying, “It warms my heart that we get to celebrate the promotion of J.D. to the rank of colonel. You are an outstanding individual but the rank of colonel gives you a different perspective that it’s not about you, it’s about your people.”

He continued, “You want to represent them in the highest of caliber wherever you go. I’m thankful to have you as a commander and I look forward to the excellent work that you and the medical group will accomplish.”

The Adjutant General of the West Virginia National Guard, Maj. Gen. James A. Hoyer, provided remarks on Underwood’s leadership capabilities and highlighted the importance of military families in the career of military members.

Underwood’s family, including his wife, Andrea, joined him to pin on his new rank in front of a crowd of fellow colleagues, family and friends.

The new colonel thanked those in attendance and offered his gratitude for those who helped him to this moment.

“Honestly, I never thought this would happen,” he said. “Many of us come into the military thinking ‘I’ll do this for one tour or so, get some good experience and move on to something else.’ Along the way, we meet incredible people, have great experiences with wonderful support from family and friends and then you somehow get promoted to colonel,” Underwood said.

He continued, “I don’t think any of us set out to make colonel, we just set out to do a good job in the position we find ourselves in, serve our country and ensure we bring up good people behind us. This is truly a humbling experience and a great honor to be standing here today.”

Underwood has served in the Air Force medical field since 1997 in numerous total force roles including on active duty, in the USAF reserve and in the West Virginia Air National Guard. Previously, he has held positions as a Medical Readiness Officer, Director of Health Services Management and Senior Administrator.

Underwood ended by offering words of advice to the audience in attendance saying, “We must always be ready to step up when called upon to fill a void or take on the next job or rank. That is why we mentor, build our bench and find good people to replace us. This is how a democracy stands for 240 plus years.”