Friday, August 01, 2014

TOP STORY >> New commander at 314th

Leader staff writer

The 314th Airlift Wing of the Little Rock Air Force Base got a new leader, Col. James Dryjanski, during a change-of-command ceremony held on Thursday.

Dryjanski took over for Col. Edward (Scott) Brewer, who is leaving to be chief of the Concepts, Strategy and War Gaming Division at the Pentagon in Washington.

“It is great to be back here in central Arkansas and producing C-130 combat airlift,” Dryjanski said.

He was assigned to LRAFB from November 2001 to June 2003 as a C-130H model instructor aircraft commander and squadron director of staff.

Before commanding the 314th AW, Dryjanski served as the 387th Air Expeditionary Group commander in Southwest Asia. He led 700 airmen supporting coalition forces and civilian contractors at the Air Force’s second busiest aerial port while delivering joint expeditionary-tasked airmen in support of U.S. Central Command operations.

Dryjanski began his Air Force career in 1992 when he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.

As commander of the 314th, Dryjasnki said he intends to work every day to be worthy of the trust and confidence airmen place in their leaders. “Col. Brewer, you and the airmen of this wing have built an incredible legacy,” he said.

“We could not do what we do without the support of this community. When we think of Little Rock Air Force Base, we know the airfield, air space and training routes that we have, landing and drop zones make this base a national asset.

But the community support that we enjoy here makes it a national treasure,” Dryjanski said.

He and his wife, Celeste, have six children — Kate, Alexis, Zoey, Thomas, Joshua and Adam. Dryjanski thanked his parents, who traveled from upper Michigan to be at the ceremony.

“They encouraged me as a young man to be a leader of integrity. They taught me the value of courage and the value of compassion,” Dryjanski said.

He also told airmen of the 314th that one his favorite presidents, Theodore Roosevelt, said the best prize life has to offer is working hard at work that’s worth doing.

“That is exactly the challenge and opportunity that we have here. So let’s get to it,” Dryjanski said.

Outgoing commander Col. Brewer reflected on his time leading the 314th past two years and Team Little Rock.

“It has been amazing to watch you and being part of this community,” Brewer said.

Brewer spoke about the deadly Vilonia tornado and seeing the reaction of central Arkansas. It highlighted every part of the community. People immediately rallied and raced to the needs of the citizens of Vilonia, he said.

He was impressed that all the surrounding cities sent people to Vilonia to help and stayed there for weeks helping to clean up.

“It was powerful to see that,” Brewer said.

“This is community is a family. While the job of the 314th Airlift Wing and our mission partners is to train the world’s best combat airlifters,” the colonel said.

“It is really the community that we are privileged to be a part of that is the extra difference that makes each one of the student’s lives even better. Especially the 47 countries that insist on sending their folks here to central Arkansas because of that Team Little Rock difference,” Brewer said.

The 314th Airlift Wing is part of Air Education and Training Command. The wing has more than 1,200 military and civilian professionals.

The 314th partners with the 19th AW, 189th AW Air National Guard and the 913th Airlift Group Air Force Reserve Command.

It flies about 12,600 hours annually and uses 81 flight simulators and training devices to train more than 1,800 students and 250 international students each year.