Col. Scott Brewer wrapped up his second stint at Little Rock Air Force Base on Thursday, this time leaving to multiple rounds of applause from a crowd of about 200 airmen, military leaders and public officials.
When he left the base the first time, in September 1993, Brewer was only beginning his military career. His first assignment after undergraduate pilot training in Texas was five months of training on the C-130E models, tactical airlift planes that were retired by 2010.
Brewer went on to hold airlift and special operations positions on bases throughout the U.S. and Southwest Asia. Later -- almost 20 years after leaving the Jacksonville base -- Brewer returned to take command of the 314th Airlift Wing, which serves as the school for C-130 aircrews from the U.S. and 47 allied nations.
With his family in the front row Thursday morning and a large American flag hanging behind him, Brewer said goodbye again during a change-of-command ceremony. He handed over control of the Department of Defense's largest international flight-training program to Col. James Dryjanski.
"Team Little Rock has made a difference in our lives," Brewer said in his farewell speech. "It's been special. I'm excited to see where it's going."
Brewer mentioned fewer planes and fewer dollars that the 314th has dealt with during his two years as commander, noting that other units on base helped make available the newer C-130J planes for the 314th's training mission.
The 314th, along with the Air National Guard's 189th Airlift Wing, train more than 1,800 students annually in all five crew positions: pilot, co-pilot, navigator, flight engineer and loadmaster. In the past two years, Brewer has expanded the training program despite an 18 percent reduction in its budget.
"It has nothing to do with the iron but everything to do with the people," Brewer said.
Brewer will next move to Washington, D.C., to work in Air Force headquarters at the Pentagon, where he is going to be chief of concepts in the strategy and war games division.
After Brewer took his ceremonial leave Thursday, the base welcomed back Dryjanski, who was a C-130H model instructor at Little Rock Air Force Base from November 2001 to June 2003. Dryjanski's wife, Celeste; six children; parents; aunt and uncle; in-laws; and high school football coach attended the 9 a.m. ceremony.
"It's great to be back here in central Arkansas," Dryjanski said in a brief speech. "It's great to get back to the mission of training combat airlift."
Dryjanski's most recent assignment was commander of the 387th Air Expeditionary Group in Southwest Asia. Before that, he served in pilot, instructor and other officer positions throughout the U.S. and in Japan and Germany.
Maj. Gen. Michael Keltz from the Air Education and Training Command, which oversees the 314th, detailed Dryjanski's academic record in an introduction Thursday.
He graduated at the top of his class from Squadron Officer School in Alabama and the College of Naval Command and Staff in Rhode Island, and he attended the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Germany.
"Not only is he smart, he can lead," Keltz said. "When we bring you colonels to Little Rock, we bring you the top."
During his time as commander, Dryjanski said he would continue Brewer's efforts to strengthen the relationship between the 314th and the Guard's 189th Airlift Group, which has assumed more responsibility of the flight training program in recent years.
Metro on 08/01/2014
Print Headline: Colonel hands off 314th wing command