Tuesday, May 26, 2015

TOP STORY >> Commander taking over LRAFB wing

Col. Charles E. Brown Jr. this morning will take command of the 19th Airlift Wing at Little Rock Air Force Base. He succeeds Col. Patrick J. Rhatigan, who is retiring from the Air Force after 24 years of service. Rhatigan has been commander here since July 2013.

It’s a homecoming for Brown, who was commander of the 62nd Airlift Squadron at Little Rock Air Force Base from 2009-11. He then became a national-security fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University from 2011-12.

Brown was vice commander of 374th Airlift Wing at Yokota Air Base in Japan from June 2012 before moving back here. The 374th is America’s only airlift wing in the Pacific.
Brown entered the Air Force through the Reserve Officer Training Corps following his graduation from Florida State University in 1994.

He has been a command-and-control officer, C-130H navigator, F-15E “Strike Eagle” pilot, C-130E instructor pilot and assistant executive officer to the commander of Air Mobility Command.

Brown is a seasoned aviator with more than 300 combat hours and 160 combat sorties. He has participated in the U.S. global war on terror in Operation Noble Eagle to secure America’s homeland, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in Asia and Africa.

Brown leads the “Home of C-130 Combat Airlift.” As the 19th Airlift Wing commander, he will be responsible for organizing, training and equipping the personnel who operate, maintain and sustain more than 65 C-130 aircraft.

The wing provides combat-ready forces to meet combatant commanders’ requirements globally.

Brown will work in concert with the 314th Airlift Wing (AETC), 189th Airlift Wing (ANG), 22nd Air Force Detachment 1 (AFRC) and the United States Air Force Weapons School (ACC) in all aspects of C-130 training.

He ensures support for combat, contingency and humanitarian requirements while providing for the health and welfare of more than 10,000 personnel and families at Little Rock AFB.

In an interview last week, Rhatigan said, ““My time at Little Rock Air Force Base was a time of unprecedented change in our Air Force.

“From sequestration to government shutdown to force management, our airmen and civilians have endured the continued turbulence of fiscal restraints and uncertainty. Yet, we buckled down every time to accomplish the mission safely and effectively.

“Combat airlift is the heart of this base, and I could not be prouder of the men and women of Team Little Rock and their incredible resilience and dedication to the mission,” Rhatigan said.