08/03/14 — Kwast earns third star

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Kwast earns third star

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on August 3, 2014 1:50 AM

News-Argus file photo

Maj. Gen. Steve Kwast, left, speaks with Mayor Al King during the Friends of Seymour Johnson fundraising event held earlier this year.

Less than a decade ago, Steve Kwast was the 4th Fighter Wing commander -- leading the airmen stationed at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base and motivating local military advocates to protect the installation at all costs.

Friday, the former fighter pilot received the news that he would soon pin on his third star.

President Barack Obama has nominated Kwast to the Senate for appointment to lieutenant general.

But a change in rank is not all that is in store for the man who was back in Wayne County earlier this year to attend a Friends of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base fundraising event.

Kwast is also poised to take command of the Air University, Air Education and Training Command at Maxwell Air Force Base, the installation he has been serving at since February.

After relinquishing command of the 4th, Kwast has been assigned to the Pentagon Langley Air Force Base and even Afghanistan, where he served as the commander of the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing -- a role that, as fate would have it, saw him lead Seymour Johnson airmen in theater.

He also served as the deputy director for Politico-Military Affairs for Europe, NATO and Russia.

A command pilot with more than 3,300 flight hours in the F-15E Strike Eagle, T-6, T-37 and T-38, Kwast has been awarded many decorations during a career in the Air Force that dates back to 1986 -- including the Bronze Star and Distinguished Flying Cross.

Early in his career, he also served as a military aide to then-Vice President Al Gore.

No date for Kwast's official promotion and command change have been released by the Air Force to date.