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Smithsburg native takes over command of maintenance squadron in Qatar

September 14, 2008

Maj. Joseph E. Gardenhour, a 1988 graduate of Smithsburg High School, took over command of the U.S. Air Force's 379th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar in June and will serve there for a year.

He was recognized in a Change of Command Ceremony.

Gardenhour graduated with an aerospace professional pilot/administration degree from Middle Tennessee State University in 1994 after completing the four-year ROTC program.

He received a master's degree in 1998 from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and another one from Air University at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama in 2006.

This is Gardenhour's second one-year unaccompanied tour to the Middle East in eight years and his second maintenance squadron command.

He has been stationed in eight different locations since 1994.

"The best thing about being a maintenance squadron commander is having the opportunity to lead a lot of people as they launch, recover and repair aircraft each and every day ... and getting the opportunity to see all the hard work and training I've been given over the years used to fight the Global War on Terrorism," Gardenhour wrote in an e-mail.

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He is the son of Richard and Pat Gardenhour of Smithsburg.

Gardenhour is married to the former Susan House, who is a captain in the U.S. Air Force stationed at Langley Air Force Base. They have one son, Conner, 2, and are expecting another child in November.

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