Monday, December 19, 2011

TOP STORY >> New commander heads to Jacksonville air base

Air Mobility Command officials announced Friday that Col. Brian Robinson will assume command of the 19th Airlift Wing from Col. Mike Minihan at Little Rock Air Force Base.

Robinson is executive officer to Gen. Raymond Johns Jr., commander of Air Mobility Command at Scott AFB, Ill.

Minihan will assume command of the 89th Airlift Wing at Joint Base Andrews, Md., which has responsibility for Air Force One and other planes assigned to government officials.

The wing is responsible for worldwide special airlift missions, logistics and communications support for the president, vice president, cabinet members, combat commanders and other senior military and elected leaders.

A date for the change of command ceremony has not been determined.

At LRAFB, Minihan leads the world’s largest fleet of C-130 aircraft and is responsible for providing worldwide deployable C-130 aircraft, aircrews, support personnel and equipment for Air Mobility Command and Air Expeditionary Force missions.

He ensures support for combat, contingency and humanitarian requirements with 12,000 personnel and families at LRAFB.

The C-130 crews can drop supplies with pinpoint accuracy — “literally the size of a basketball court,” he told The Leader in an interview earlier this year.

“This wing has not had a break since 9/11,” said Minihan, who has been deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq several times. “I’ve done four tours as a squadron commander.

“We haven’t lost one plane,” he said. “The crews are highly skilled and professional.

“People worry about the new generation of Americans,” he continued. “I do not. They’re professional warriors….They really do inspire with their actions.

“It’s a great reminder how precious their service is to the nation,” he said.

Minihan entered the Air Force in June 1989 after receiving his commission through the ROTC program at Auburn University.

He completed undergraduate pilot training in 1991 and served as an aircraft commander, instructor pilot and evaluator pilot in the C-130 Hercules.

Minihan commanded an airlift squadron and four deployed expeditionary airlift squadrons.

Most recently, Minihan served as vice commander, 60th Air Mobility Wing, Travis AFB, Calif.

Minihan is a command pilot with more than 3,200 flying hours in the C-130 and KC-10.