Leader Blues

Friday, January 09, 2009

TOP STORY > >Base change of command set for Jan. 28

By JOHN HOFHEIMER
Leader senior staff writer

Brig. Gen. Rowayne Schatz, under whose command Little Rock Air Force Base was successfully reorganized and who was a strong voice for getting a failed effort for base housing privatization restarted, will leave the command of the 19th Airlift Wing on Jan. 28.

Schatz has been reassigned to the joint staff at the Pentagon, where he will serve as deputy director for global operations, according to Airman Jason Elkins, a wing spokesman.

He will join Gen. Norton Schwartz, the Air Force chief of staff, whom he had served under in previous assignments. Schwartz, too, had been assigned to Little Rock Air Force Base previously.

Schatz will replace Brig. Gen. James Kowalski, who will lead the provisional Global Strike Command.

Schatz took command of the 314th Airlift Wing in May 2007, just as construction of privatized base housing under American Eagle Communities ground to a halt. He leaves just as Hunt-Pinnacle LLC takes over the contract and resurrects construction of base housing.

Taking command of the and of the 19th Airlift Wing, an expeditionary force of the Air Mobility Command, will be Col. Gregory S. Otey, former Air Force Ex-peditionary Center vice commander at Fort Dix, N.J.

The USAF Expedition-ary Center is the Air Force’s Center of Excellence for advanced expeditionary combat support (ECS) training and education.

The center houses the Mobility Operations School, Expeditionary Operations School and the Ex-peditionary Center Resources Directorate.

Otey served as a weapons officer at the C-130 Weapons School at Little Rock from 1995 through 1997, Elkins said.

The 19th Airlift Wing is the host wing at Little Rock Air Force Base under Air Mobility Command. Its mission is to deploy mission-ready combat airlifters, support AETC training mission and execute combat airlift.

Otey, a Bronze Star recipient, is a command pilot with more than 3,000 flying hours in military aircraft, including the C-130E and the state-of-the-art C-130J.

Among 11 other awards, Otey received the Defense Meritorious Service Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters.

He is a 1987 graduate of the Virginia Military Institute and earned his pilot wings in 1989.

Official reorganization of the base took place Oct. 4, 2008, when the 19th AW was stood up and took over as host of the base.

Schatz was transferred to the 19th Airlift Wing.

Schatz also lobbied effectively for Pulaski County Special School District to replace its decrepit Arnold Drive Elementary on base, and he furthered the cause of the Joint Education Center, a $19.8 million college complex serving both airmen and area residents.

Jacksonville residents taxed themselves $5 million to pay for their share.