Air Guard Commander killed in New Hampshire hit-and-run accident

The brigadier general in charge of the New Hampshire Air National Guard was killed Monday in a hit-and-run accident near his home, the NHANG said Tuesday.

Brig. Gen. John Pogorek, 57, had been the commander of the NHANG since June 2022. A career tanker pilot, he previously commanded the 157th Air Refueling Wing, the NHANG’s primary flying unit. The wing’s 133rd Refueling Squadron flies KC-46 tankers from Pease Air National Guard Base outside Portsmith. The wing transititioned from Cold War-era KC-135 tankers to KC-46s under Pogorek’s direction.

“On behalf of the entire State of New Hampshire, I extend my sincere condolences to the family of Gen. Pogorek,” said Governor Chris Sununu. “Gen. Pogorek served his state, country, and community with honor. His commitment and contributions to the Granite State will never be forgotten.”

A 1989 Air Force Academy graduate, Pogorek spent his early flying years in some of the Air Force’s most demanding flight roles, piloting HC-130 tankers in special operations and combat search and rescue units in England. He switched to the airliner-based KC-135 and joined the NHANG in 1999.

157th Air Refueling Wing Commander, Col. John Pogorek, is congratulated by Chief Master Sgt. Jason Veziris, the Airfield Management Superintendent with the 157th Operations Group, on the flight line after landing his fini-flight at Pease Air National Guard Base, New Hampshire June 2, 2022. Pogorek flew more than 6,675 flying hours with the U.S. Air Force and New Hampshire Air National Guard. (U.S. photo by Staff Sgt. Victoria Nelson)
Then-Col. John Pogorek, is congratulated by Chief Master Sgt. Jason Veziris after Pogrek’s “fini-flight” at Pease Air National Guard Base, New Hampshire June 2, 2022. Pogorek, flew more than 6,675 flying hours with the U.S. Air Force and New Hampshire Air National Guard. Photo by Staff Sgt. Victoria Nelson Staff Sgt. Victoria Nelson

For the last 25 years Pogorek served as an instructor and evaluator pilot on the KC-135 and in several leadership positions within the 157th wing before taking over as its commander in 2018.

As the assistant adjutant general for the NHANG, Pogorek oversaw more than 1,300 officers, airmen, and civilians at Pease Air National Guard Base in Newington. Gen. Pogorek was a pilot, accruing more than 6,675 flying hours over 31 years with the U.S. Air Force and NHANG. He oversaw the fielding and operations of the Air National Guard’s first fleet of KC-46A refuelers.

He is survived by his wife, Whitney, and their five children.

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Matt White

Senior Editor

Matt White is a senior editor at Task & Purpose. He was a pararescueman in the Air Force and the Alaska Air National Guard for eight years and has more than a decade of experience in daily and magazine journalism.

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