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19th Airlift Wing welcomes TLR leader as new commander

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Dana J. Cable
  • 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Black Knights, alongside partner units and members of the supportive community, welcomed Col. John Schutte as the new 19th Airlift Wing commander June 27, 2019. Schutte assumed command of the 19th AW from Col. Gerald Donohue in a ceremony presided over by Maj. Gen. Sam Barrett, 18th Air Force commander.

Prior to this assignment, Schutte was also a member of Team Little Rock as the vice commander of the 314th AW, where he oversaw the nation's C-130 "Center of Excellence" for tactical airlift training C-130 aircrew members from across the Department of Defense and 47 partner nations.

“It’s a rare opportunity to go from being the vice commander of a mission partner wing to the installation commander,” Schutte said. “I am grateful for the relationships we have established and look forward to working alongside you to continue to strengthen Team Little Rock and the greater tactical airlift tribe.”

As the installation commander, Schutte will lead the “Home of Combat Airlift,” responsible for organizing, training and equipping the personnel who operate and maintain 46 C-130 aircraft while providing for the health and welfare of more than 9,600 Airmen, civilians and family members.

According to Barrett, Schutte is the right leader, at the right place, and at the right time.

“The opportunity to move up within the Little Rock team, coupled with his Air Education and Training Command experience sets him up nicely as he already understands the geography, the local community, and the mission,” Barrett said.

Having been a partner in the consistent focus on the readiness and operational excellence that defines the Home of Combat Airlift, Schutte outlined his expectations of the men and women of the 19th AW in projecting and sustaining agile combat airlift across the globe.

“We must be relentless in our pursuit of operational excellence, individual excellence, and installation excellence,” Schutte said. “The strategic environment demands nothing less, and frankly the citizens of this great nation expect nothing less.”

Schutte also noted need for continued focus on developing and maintaining readiness competencies to be prepared to meet future national security demands.

“You have led not only the C-130 community, but I would hazard to say, the entire Mobility Air Force in this effort” Schutte said. “You have proven yourselves Ready Warriors, but there is more work to be done.”

Barrett echoed these sentiments and thanked all Airmen present for their service and sacrifice.

“We all know what’s on the line,” Barrett said. “Our job is to defend the nation against a multitude of threats. You are the heart and soul of a lethal and ready force that ensures America’s continued prosperity and defense.”

Prior to departing, Donohue thanked the 19 AW for their hard work and dedication to the Combat Airlift mission. As he left, Donohue had one final request of the attendees which left the auditorium ringing with a charged chant of, “We Are … Black Knights.”

“I am nothing but proud of the combat culture you have established here and the ethos that you show,” Donohue said. “I feel very fortunate to be able to look at my commander and tell him that I believe unequivocally, this is the most ready, capable wing in Air Mobility Command and that is not because of me -- that is because of all of you.”

Schutte concluded the ceremony by thanking Black Knights for their tireless efforts toward mission accomplishment.

“You have chosen to serve at a critical juncture in the history of our Republic, and I am honored to serve alongside you,” Schutte said. “Thank you for all you have accomplished already and all that we will do together as we stand tall and meet the challenges before us.”