01/13/08 — Kwast to speak at speaker's forum Tuesday

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Kwast to speak at speaker's forum Tuesday

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on January 13, 2008 2:15 AM

Throughout his year-plus as commander of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base's 4th Fighter Wing, Steve Kwast has been charged with deployment of airmen, management of assets and setting an example for thousands of young Americans.

Tuesday, the Air Force colonel will wear another hat -- public speaker.

Kwast has been tapped for an annual speaker's forum co-sponsored by the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Goldsboro Development Corp.

The event, to be held inside the Wayne County Court House's Room No. 1, is scheduled to begin at noon and will be open to the public -- although seats will be first come, first serve.

While it is still unclear what the theme of the speech will be, officials are calling Kwast the "perfect" choice for the forum.

After all, having been stationed at Seymour in the early 1990s, he has lived both as a more "everyday airman" and a public figure, they said.

Kwast controls assets that exceed $4.8 billion, and he executes an annual operations and maintenance budget of $193 million.

He has logged more than 2,500 flying hours including 238 combat hours during operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Southern Watch and Enduring Freedom.

Kwast has made it a point to encourage his airmen to get involved in the Goldsboro and Wayne communities since his stint as commander began. Some volunteer as coaches and mentors. Others work hours at the Community Soup Kitchen and Salvation Army.

And he has made an effort to rally the communities behind the airmen, too.

At this year's Veterans Day parade along Center Street, he reminded the crowds that freedom only comes when men and women fight to protect it.

Kwast's speech is expected to run until 1:30.

For more information on the forum, contact the DGDC at 735-4959.