Leader Blues

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

TOP STORY >>Change of command today on base

By HEATHER HARTSELL
Leader staff writer

Brig. Gen. (Select) Rowayne A. Schatz, Jr., will become the new face of Little Rock Air Force Base today during a change-of -command ceremony.

Schatz replaces Brig. Gen. Kip Self as commander of the 314th Airlift Wing.

Self will take command next Wed-nesday of the Air Force Expeditionary Center, Air Mobility Command at McGuire AFB, N.J.
Schatz and his wife, Kim, were stationed at LRAFB from 1997-99 while he was operations officer and commander of the 50th Airlift Squadron. During his tenure as squadron commander, the 50th won the 1998 General Smith Trophy as the best airlift squadron in Air Mobility Command.

“He (Col. Schatz) is a ‘full-up round’ and more than capable to lead this team. He and Kim bring experience. Continuity and quality are only going to go up at The Rock,” Self said of his successor, adding, “The sky’s the limit.”

Schatz is returning to Arkansas from Scott Air Force Base, Ill., where he served as the deputy director of operations and plans with the U.S. Transportation Command. He has also been the executive officer to the commander of U.S. Transportation Command.

As deputy director of Operations and Plans, he was responsible for directing and monitoring current operations of a combatant command and its three components that create and implement world-class global deployment and distribution solutions in support of the president, secretary of defense and combatant command- assigned missions. During his 24-years of service, Schatz, a command pilot, has been a C-130 instructor pilot and a C-130 flight-examiner pilot.

He and his family have been stationed at Yokota Air Base, Japan; his first group command was at Yokota when he commanded the 374th Operations Group from 2001-2003.

From Japan he moved to Charleston AFB, S.C., as the vice-commander of the 437th Airlift Wing from 2003-2004. He moved to McChord AFB, Wash., in 2004 to command the 62nd Airlift Wing and stayed there until 2006 when he was reassigned to U.S. Transportation Command at Scott AFB.

Under his leadership, the 62nd AW earned the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Valor and the 2005 Air Mobility Command Flying Safety Award. Schatz has also deployed in support of Operation Southern Watch, Operation Allied Force, Operation Enduring Freedom-Philippines.

In 2005 he deployed as the U.S. Central Command Air Forces deputy director of mobility forces where he coordinated theater air mobility support for Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom. During Self’s 21-month tenure as commander of the 314th AW, LRAFB has made many improvements to help both the mission and quality of life. Self’s most recent focus was on things that would ensure the mission is executed.

“The number one thing is the 50-year-old airfield and making sure it is able to handle the load in five years,” Self said.
The commissary and BX will receive improvements; construction of a new BX will begin in 2008; $150,000 a year will be spent to replace gym equipment due to frequent use.

There are 14 construction projects currently in the works on base – a new child development center, a new football field with lights, a new dining facility, renovations to the medical center, and new base housing to name a few.

“We have made Little Rock a center of excellence and with that comes the money to continue doing so; we’ve been very successful in the forefront (of construction projects) because of our congressional leaders,” Self said. “If we can keep the quality of life at the forefront, then people will stay. If we have happy spouses, the members will be happy and will be able to continue the mission,” he added.

As the next commander of the Expeditionary Center, previously known as the Air Mobility Warfare Center, Self will still have a hand in the education and training of personnel. The center is Air Mobility Command’s single focal point for the advanced education and training of mobility forces and expeditionary training.

The center’s schools, directorates, detachments and operating locations work together to achieve one major goal – keeping mobility forces ready, at a moment’s notice, to deploy anywhere in the world. The center also teaches thousands of airmen about landing in hostile areas, setting up bases almost overnight and making sure airmen are well supplied.