08/21/08 — Date set for command change at SJAFB

View Archive

Date set for command change at SJAFB

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on August 21, 2008 1:37 PM

A date has been set for the formal ceremony at which Col. Mark Kelly will take command of the 4th Fighter Wing.

Col. Steve Kwast will officially stand down from the post the morning of Sept. 9 on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.

Kelly, an experienced war fighter and former commander of the 4th's 333rd Fighter Squadron, was deployed to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, when news of his assignment came down.

Air Force officials announced their decision Aug. 14, several weeks after Kwast's presumed replacement, Col. Thomas Bergeson, was reassigned to the 3rd Fighter Wing housed at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska.

Kelly, a command pilot with more than 5,000 flight hours in the T-37, T-38, F/A-18 and F-15E, has a Bronze Star and numerous other awards and decorations.

Before his stint at Bagram, he served as vice commander of the 366th Fighter Wing at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho.

His duties there included supporting the wing commander in overseeing an operational fighter wing of more than 4,800 military and civilian members, and three squadrons of F-15C and F-15E aircraft.

Kwast called Kelly an "outstanding choice," and said he is confident that the former 4th officer would take the wing "to new heights."