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franklin county times

NAS Meridian says good-bye … and welcome back

By By Fredie Carmichael/The Meridian Star
June 30, 2001
Twenty-one years ago, Capt. Mark Needler, received his "wings of gold" at Naval Air Station Meridian. He said he never imagined he would return to take over as commander of Training Air Wing 1.
On Friday, he did just that, relieving Capt. David Bernhard.
Bernhard spoke Friday before Needler was introduced at a change of command ceremony at Hanger 1.
Bernhard has been commanding officer of Wing 1 since July 1, 1999. During his 26 years of service in the U.S. Navy, he has called 14 different cities home. Still, he said, Meridian ranks at the top of his list.
Bernhard said he and his wife plan to get away for a while to get some well-deserved rest and relaxation.
New commander
Needler spent 21 years away from Meridian after receiving his "wings of gold" back in September 1979. Needler said he is glad to return to a place that he now calls home.
Needler said the Southern hospitality that is so often referred to in Mississippi is not just a saying.
Needler is the 16th commander of Training Air Wing 1. The wing was the first of six wings in the Navy devoted solely to aviation training back in 1971, when it was first commissioned.
Fredie Carmichael is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3228, or e-mail him at fcarmichael@themeridianstar.com.