Former Physician Assistant of the Year to Lead Air Guard Medical Group
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Col. Henry “Hank” Heard has been named commander of the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Medical Group, 123rd Airlift Wing Commander Col. Greg Nelson announced.
Heard most recently served as commander of the 187th Medical Group, an Alabama Air National Guard unit located at Montgomery Regional Airport in Montgomery, Ala.
Heard attended West Georgia College and the Southern School of Pharmacy before transferring to the Medical College of Georgia. He graduated in the third class of physician assistants from Medical College of Georgia in 1976.
Heard soon became active in several professional organizations, serving as president of the Georgia Association of Physician Assistants and as a member of the Composite State Board of Medical Examiners of Georgia.
Nearing 41 years of age without prior military experience, Heard joined the 908th Medical Squadron, United States Air Force Reserve, at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. He transferred to the 187th Fighter Wing in 1996.
Heard is the first Air Force physician assistant to complete the United States Army Flight Surgeons course in 1995, the first Air Guard physician assistant to complete the “Top Knife” program in Klamath Falls, Ore., and the first physician assistant to be promoted to the rank of colonel in the Air National Guard. In 2002, Heard was honored as the Air National Guard’s Outstanding Physician Assistant of the Year.
The following year, he deployed overseas as a member of the 160th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron Medical Element. During his most recent deployment, Heard assumed command of the 447th Expeditionary Medical Squadron at Sather Air Base, Iraq.
As a civilian, Heard works in an Emergency Medicine practice at an Emory University community hospital in Atlanta, Ga. He also is a commercial pilot with instrument and multi-engine ratings.
His major awards and decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, an Air Force Commendation Medal, an Air Force Achievement Medal, a Meritorious Unit Award, the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with a bronze valor device and three oak leaf clusters, an Iraq Campaign Medal with bronze star, an Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon with gold border and an Expert Marksmanship Ribbon with bronze star.