Leader Blues

Friday, July 07, 2006

TOP STORY >> New group commander

Leader staff writer

IN SHORT: Col. Lockard takes over command of the 314th Mission Support Group at Little Rock Air Force Base from Col. Starkey during a ceremony Wednesday.

Retiring Col. John Starkey passed the reins of leadership of the 314th Mission Support Group to Col. Scott Lockard Wednesday during a ceremony inside a hangar at Little Rock Air Force Base.

Lockard is the former deputy commander for operations for the 463rd Airlift Group at the base. A replacement for Lockard has not been named yet, according to Col. John Gomez, commander of the 463rd Airlift Group.

“The biggest challenge I’m facing is getting to know the people and the job specialties in the mission support group,” Lockard told The Leader.

Brig. Gen. Kip Self, commander at LRAFB, said it is always hard to say goodbye to great leaders like Starkey, but the general has confidence in Lockard’s ability to lead the mission support group.

“If I had to sum up Scott Lockard in one word, it would be ‘Git-R-Done’ because Scott gets things done. I look forward to watching his smoke,” Self said, combining the Air Force reference of watching the smoking engines of a jet fighter with the catchphrase of blue-collar television comic Dan Whitney, more commonly known as Larry the Cable Guy.

“I try to say ‘yous guys’ like John Starkey, but it just doesn’t work with my Southern drawl. You’ll just have to settle for ‘y’all,’” Lockard told the troops of the 314th Mission Support Group, poking fun at Starkey’s New York accent.

Born in Siaoghters, Ky., Lockard entered the military at Mather Air Force Base in California. He rose through the ranks at Nellis, Pope, Scott and McGuire Air Force bases to become the commander of the 36th Airlift Squadron at Yokota Air Force Base, Japan.

Before arriving at LRAFB, Lockard was the assistant director for operations for the National Military Command Center at the Pentagon. As a navigator, he has more than 2,400 hours of flight time.

His decorations include two Ku-wait Liberation medals for service in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, the National Defense Service Medal with a star, the Air Force Commen-dation Medal, the Southwest Asia Service medal with two oak leaf clusters and the Humanitarian Service Medal.