88th Air Base Wing gets new commander

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Col. Bradley W. McDonald became the new installation commander of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base on June 20. Produced by Barrie Barber.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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An Idaho native and one-time graduate student at Wright-Patterson now leads the installation as its commander.

Col. Bradley W. McDonald, most recently a vice commander of a unit that supports the Air Force Academy, took command of the 88th Air Base Wing and its more than 5,000 airmen in a ceremony Tuesday at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.

“Wow, it’s been an amazing journey,” said the Iraq war veteran.

Since the Air Force Academy graduate found out he and his family were headed from Colorado to Wright-Patterson, he said “there have been three words that have consistently come to our minds: humbled, honored and excited.”

McDonald, 43, replaces Col. John M. Devillier, a human resources officer who has a new assignment in the Joint Chiefs of Staff office at the Pentagon. He will help handle the selection of generals and admirals to top military posts.

McDonald said building community partnerships in the Miami Valley will be a priority during his two-year tenure. The career officer’s early years were spent at Wright-Patterson. He earned a master’s degree in cost analysis at the Air Force Institute of Technology and he and his wife’s first child was born at Wright-Patterson Medical Center.

Presiding at the ceremony, Lt. Gen. John F. Thompson, commander of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, said McDonald “always had a desire to serve something greater than himself.”

At the 10th Air Base Wing in Colorado Springs, Colo., McDonald oversaw 3,000 military and civilian employees and a $150 million budget.

Among other jobs, the 1994 academy graduate was a speech writer to an Air Force general, worked as a Capitol Hill military fellow in Washington, and was chief of the financial division of the Air Force Space Command.

Thompson presented Devillier the Legion of Merit medal, citing a list of accomplishments under the outgoing wing commander’s tenure, from a patient-sharing agreement between Wright-Patterson Medical Center and the VA to an Association of Defense Communities leadership award and numerous unit honors.

“I could stand up here for 20 minutes and talk to the men and women of the mighty 88th and tell you how much your boss supports you,” the three-star general said. “He went to bat for you.”

In a farewell address, Devillier mentioned airmen by name to highlight what they do on the job at the military base. He had an added message he once heard from the Air Force’s top general.

“You never know who will be the most important person in the United States Air Force on any given day,” Devillier said. “Each one of you may be that most important person in the United States Air Force.

“My job was simply to facilitate and provide you the resources and environment to be that most important.”

The 88th Air Base Wing supports more than a hundred units at Wright-Patterson, which has more than 27,000 military and civilian employees and a $4 billion-plus economic impact in the region.

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