Col. William Parris has assumed command of the Maryland Wing of the Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the Air Force.
Parris had served as vice commander of the wing since 2011. Rated as a command pilot, he also has served as a squadron commander and group commander.
The nonprofit Civil Air Patrol, with 61,000 members and 550 aircraft, performs 90 percent of inland search-and-rescue missions in the continental United States. The Air Force Rescue Coordination Center credits the organization with an average of 80 lives saved annually.
The Maryland Wing numbers nearly 1,700 members. It flew 13 search-and-rescue missions in 2013 and was credited with five finds and one life saved.
Parris assumed command from Col. John Knowles, who had led the Maryland Wing for four years, during a ceremony Saturday at Warfield Air National Guard Base in Middle River.
Brig. Gen. Allyson Solomon, commander of the Maryland Air National Guard, awarded Knowles the Maryland Distinguished Service Cross.
Parris, of Reisterstown, is president of Radio Broadcast Communications, which owns and operates a television production studio, several radio stations and Internet ventures.