Tuesday, June 11, 2013

TOP STORY >> New base commander

Col. Patrick Rhatigan will assume command of Little Rock Air Force Base’s 19th Airlift Wing from Col. Brian Robinson in a change-of-command ceremony on July 9.

Robinson, who has been the 19th AW commander for 18 months, was recently selected for promotion to brigadier general and will become the vice commander of Air Mobility Command’s 618th Air and Space Operations Center (Tanker Airlift Control Center) at Scott Air Force Base, Ill.

The 618th AOC is responsible for executing global command and control of all Air Mobility Command airlift and air refueling missions conducted as the air component of the U.S. Transportation Command (USTC).

Rhatigan, a 1987 graduate of Bethpage High School on Long Island, N.Y, pinned on his colonel eagles last September.

He has been deployed to Southwest Asia, where he was the 379th Expeditionary Operations Group commander. Before that assignment, he served as the military assistant to the assistant secretary of defense for legislative affairs in the Pentagon.

Before moving to the Pentagon, Rhatigan served as commander of the 93rd Air Refueling Squadron out of McChord Air Force Base, Wash.

He has had numerous deployments to the Asian theater. On one of his deployments he sent his old high school an American flag with a signed certificate saying, “On Feb. 19, 2009, dedicated members of the Air Force flew this flag over Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan in your honor. It flew onboard a KC-135R Stratotanker during an Operation Enduring Freedom combat refueling mission.”

The 19th AW is the “Home of C-130 Combat Airlift” and works in concert with the 314th Airlift Wing, 189th Airlift Wing, 22nd Air Force Reserves Detachment 1 and USAF Mobility Weapons School in all aspects of C-130 operations and training.

As commander, Rhatigan will lead the world’s largest fleet of C-130 aircraft, providing worldwide deployable C-130 aircraft, aircrews, expeditionary combat support personnel and equipment for Air Mobility Command and Air Expeditionary Force taskings.