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New commander appointed at Grissom

GRISSOM AIR RESERVE BASE – The Air Force Reserve has named a new commander at Grissom Air Reserve Base, replacing the former base leader who was removed from the position in March during an investigation of his job performance.

Col. Douglas Schwartz assumed command of the 434th Air Refueling Wing during a ceremony Sunday, according to Grissom officials.

Schwartz was a Grissom aviator in the 1990s, flying KC-135R Stratotankers with the 72nd Air Refueling Squadron.

He was commissioned through the Air Force Officer Training School in 1981 after graduating from Purdue University with a degree in business administration and management, according to biographical information provided by Grissom officials.

Most recently, Schwartz served as the 27th Air Refueling Wing commander at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida.

His appointment at Grissom comes after former wing commander Col. Donald Buckley was relieved of his duty after his superior “lost confidence in Col. Buckley’s ability to command,” according to Col. Rob Palmer, director of public affairs for the Air Force Reserve Command.

Military officials launched an internal investigation into Buckley’s job performance. He had served in the position for less than two years.

Palmer said Friday he had no update on the status or nature of the investigation.

434th Air Refueling Wing Vice Commander Col. Bryan Reinhart had temporarily assumed command of the wing.

Schwartz, who is a command pilot with more than 4,200 hours and has deployed in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, said he’s looking forward to coming back to Grissom.

“It will be good to return back home again to Indiana,” he said in a released statement. “No matter where I’ve been, I’ve always been impressed by the job the men and women of the 434th ARW do every single day, and it will be great to work alongside them once again.”

Schwartz will oversee around 2,200 Air Force reservists, as well as the largest KC-135R Stratotanker unit in the Air Force Reserve Command.

Airmen and aircraft from the 434th ARW routinely deploy around the world in support of the Air Force mission and U.S. strategic objectives, according to the base’s website.

Carson Gerber can be reached at 765-854-6739, carson.gerber@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter @carsongerber1.

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