Tuesday, June 12, 2012

TOP STORY >> Command changes at 314th AW

Leader senior staff writer

With the handing over of the wing’s colors Tuesday, Col. Mark Czelusta formally turned over command of the 314th Airlift Wing to Col. Scott Brewer at Little Rock Air Force Base, marking the end of Czelusta’s 22-month command.

Maj. Gen. Mark S. Solo, commander of the 19th Air Force, presided over the ceremony.

Czelusta leaves the 314th Airlift Wing to be the commander of Squadron Officer College and commandant of the Squadron Officer School at the Air University at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.

The college is responsible for providing professional military education for 16,000 company-grade officers annually, preparing them to fly, fight and win in air, space and cyberspace.

Solo praised Czelusta’s command, noting he’d been “operating at full throttle since day one.” He noted that under Czelusta’s command, the 314th earned an excellent rating during inspections and proved itself as the best air mobility wing and air drop wing during the 2011 Air Mobility Command rodeo.

To Brewer, he said, “You inherit a wing that is in great shape and I know you’ll take it to the next level. You are exactly the right leader at the right time. Community support for the 314th is second to none.”

Before relinquishing command, Czelusta said, “As cliche as it is to say, this is a bittersweet day for Susan, Madison and me. It is so Hard to say goodbye. This is a group of people who gets it like few others. What 314th has achieved—has nothing to do with what happened at my desk. You all earned it.”

He praised the wing, which trains C-130 crews from around the world, for “production on time, quality on time.”

Citing as an example the winning of the Air Mobility Command rodeo, Czelusta said the wing has “a deliberate culture of excellence.”

“Without partnerships, your mission is pointless and impossible,” an attitude that “goes beyond the fence” as exemplified by the community twice winning the Abilene Trophy for best community support for an air mobility wing, Czelusta said.

He praised the wing for its innovation, citing the use of flight simulators to save the taxpayers $16 million last year alone and also saving wear and tear on the planes.

He said the airmen always focus on what matters. “Focus is the signature of professionalism.”

Upon assuming command, Brewer told the airmen and guests that he had learned from his mentors. “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

He said that showed the power of collaboration and teamwork and that he was reminded of that the previous day when Czelusta reminded him time and time again how valuable were the wing’s partners in Air Mobility Command -— Combat Command, Air Force Reserve Command and the Air National Guard Command — were integral to the success of the 314th mission.

“It is not practice that makes perfect, but perfect practice that makes perfect,” Brewer said. “It is the seemingly small disciplines and commitments to high standards that make us who we are and binds us together as an Air Force. You got to war with the training you have, not the training you think you have.”

Brewer comes to LRAFB from Scott Air Force Base in Illinois, where he served as the director of Staff, Headquarters Air Mobility Command.

Brewer was responsible for managing all of the headquarters activities in order to accomplish the command’s mission of providing rapid, flexible, and responsive global reach for America.

At Little Rock, Brewer will lead a team of approximately 1,200 military and civilian professionals who form the C-130 “Center of Excellence” for tactical airlift. The wing completes all phases of C-130 training while partnering with the 19th Airlift Wing, 189th Airlift Wing of the Air National Guard and the Detachment 1 of the Air Force Reserve Command 22nd Air Force. The wings trains aircrew members from across the Department of Defense, Coast Guard and 42 partner nations.

Brewer is a former commander of the 386th Expeditionary Operations Group in Southwest Asia in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and New Dawn.

His notable achievements include selection for the School of Advanced Air and Space Studies, Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., and National Security Fellow, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

He is a command pilot with more than 5,350 hours in various C-130 configurations and L-382G aircraft.

He is a recipient of the Bronze Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Meritorious Medal with oak leaf cluster and Air Medal with six oak leaf clusters.

Czelusta’s prior commands include the 463rd Operations Support Squadron at Little Rock and the 386th Expeditionary Operations Group in Southwest Asia.

With the 463rd, he served two tours as an expeditionary airlift squadron commander supporting Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom.

Major achievements include selection as the firth Air Force Mobility Tactician of the Year, Outstanding Academic Award Winner at the U.S. Air Force Weapons School.

He was a MacArthur Fellow at the University of Maryland and a distinguished graduate of the Air Force Academy.

He is a command pilot with more than 3,300 hours in various C-130s and C-141B aircraft.

He received the Bronze Star with oak leaf cluster, Defense Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster and Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters.

Among dignitaries present were Rep. Tim Griffin, Jacksonville Mayor Gary Fletcher, Cabot Mayor Bill Cypert, Sherwood Mayor Virginia Hilllman and representatives of Sen. Mark Pryor and Sen. John Boozman.