Friday, July 07, 2017

TOP STORY >> Air base change of command Tuesday

Col. Gerald “Gyro” Donohue will become commander of the 19th Airlift Wing at Little Rock Air Force Base during a ceremony at 10 a.m. Tuesday in Herc Hall.

Donohue most recently was 86th Operations Group commander at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, commanding the largest and busiest C-130 and operational support aircraft squadrons in the Air Force.

Donohue takes over for Col. Charles Brown, who is headed for a top position with NATO in Mons, Belgium, as a senior assistant to the Supreme Allied Commander at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe.

Known as SHAPE, it is the headquarters of Allied Command Operations, which has controlled all NATO operations since 1949.

The current Supreme Allied Commander is Army Gen. Curtis Michael Scaparrotti, who took the post a year ago. Previous Supreme Allied Commanders have included Gens. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Alexander Haig, Wesley Clark and James L. Jones.

Before commanding LRAFB, Brown was the Pentagon’s assistant deputy director of Joint Strategic Planning, Strategic Plans and Policy, Joint Staff. He was division chief for the Strategic Alignment Division, Joint Staff at the Pentagon from June 2013 - April 2014.

Brown had been previously assigned to LRAFB as commander of the 62nd Airlift Squadron from April 2009 - April 2011 and as the 314th Airlift Wing’s Chief of Wing Safety from July 2008 - March 2009.

Brown was a national security fellow at Harvard in 2012.

He earned a master’s of national security and strategic studies in 2008 from the Naval War College in Newport, R.I. He was a distinguished graduate of the Squadron Officer School at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., in 2002. He earned a bachelor’s of science in criminal justice at Florida State University in 1994.

Brown is a senior pilot with 1,600 hours in C-130E, C-130H, C-130J aircraft and the F-15E Strike Eagle fighter jet. He has served Operations Noble Eagle, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

The 19th Airlift Wing is the host wing of Little Rock Air Force Base. As the installation commander, Donohue is set to lead the “Home of C-130 Combat Airlift” and work with the 314th Airlift Wing, 189th Airlift Wing, 913th Airlift Group and the 29th Weapons Squadron in all aspects of C-130 training.

“The wing provides combat ready forces to meet combat commanders’ requirements globally. 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,” according to Donohue’s official biography.

He will be “responsible for organizing, training and equipping the personnel who operate, maintain and sustain more than 65 C-130 aircraft.”

Donohue entered the Air Force in 1995 after graduating from the Air Force Academy with a bachelor’s of science in psychology.

His additional education achievements include receiving a masters’ in national security and strategic studies from Naval War College, Newport, R.I., in 2015; an MBA from Touro University International in 2007; completing Squadron Officer School at Air University, Maxwell AFB, AL, in 2000; Army Command and General Staff Officer’s Course, Fort Leavenworth, Kan., in 2008, and Air War College in 2010.

Donohue is a command pilot with more than 500 combat and combat support hours in Iraq and Afghanistan supporting Operations Southern Watch, Northern Watch, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn.

He flies C-130E, C-130H, and C-130J aircraft with more than 4,000 hours.

After completing pilot training at Vance Air Force Base, Okla., he served as a C-9A instructor pilot with the 75th Airlift Squadron, Ramstein Air Base, Germany. He transitioned to the C-130, first with the 36th Airlift Squadron, Yokota Air Base, Japan, and later with the 39th Airlift Squadron, Dyess Air Force Base, Texas.

He was previously assigned to LRAFB in 2004 when he was a student in a C-130 Weapons Instructor Course.

“From 2011 to 2012, Col. Donohue commanded the 386th Expeditionary Opera-tions Support Squadron, Southwest Asia. In his role as commander, he led a team of airmen and contractors providing operations and airfield support for assigned and transient airmen and aircraft prosecuting Operations New Dawn and Enduring Freedom.

“Upon completion of the command tour, he assumed responsibilities as the deputy commander for operations, 317th Airlift Group, Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, where he was responsible for the organization, training and equipping of two airlift squadrons and an operations support squadron,” his biography said.

Donohue’s awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters, Aerial Achievement Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Air Force Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster and Air Force Achievement Medal with two oak leaf clusters.

He was promoted to colonel on Aug. 1, 2015.