96th Range Group welcomes new director

  • Published
  • By Jasmine Porterfield
  • 96th Test Wing Public Affairs
Jeri McClung didn’t have to go far to take the helm of one of Eglin’s vital weapons test and development organizations.

The 96th Range Group welcomed McClung as its new director at a ceremony here March 28. No stranger to the group, the Naval War College graduate served in various capacities within and outside the organization.

“This is a new, fresh start for all of us,” said McClung. “For me, it’s like coming home and I’m tickled pink.”

Her 30-year, Eglin-based career began as a physicist and systems engineer for the now 782nd Test Squadron. She has since served in multiple engineering and leadership roles. These include a three-time stint as a technical director and the first lead systems engineer for the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-extended range weapons development program.

In her new role, she leads five squadrons and more than 350 government and 900 support contractor personnel in support of Eglin’s overall weapons test and development enterprise.

“There are thousands of Airmen, Soldiers, Marines and Sailors who depend on the work we do here so their missions can succeed defending our nation,” said Brig. Gen. Evan Dertien, 96th Test Wing commander. “The [96th Range Group] plays a critical role in that task.”

The 96th RG is responsible for the planning and execution of flight, ground and laboratory test missions. The group maintains and operates Eglin’s 724-square-mile test and training range, to include 70 specific test and training areas.

Unit personnel also manage all supporting land, water and airborne instrumentation resources. Without them, the range is just open land, according to Dertien. One of the group’s invaluable capabilities is allowing range users the ability to seamlessly transition between water and land ranges – a rare asset in the research, test and development community.

The wing commander expects Eglin’s range capabilities to grow, and as they do, so will the group’s responsibilities – something McClung is ready for.

“We’re all in this together,” she said. “I’m all in.”