VIENNA - New 910th Airlift Wing Commander Col. Reinhard Schmidt warned the Air Force reservists and others under his command that they must be patient as the U.S. Congress, members of the Super Committee and the president all are working on budgets that will affect the military.
"We do not know if, or how, the 910th will be affected by budget cuts," Schmidt said. "We just have to wait and see."
Because the Department of Defense already was facing significant cuts, Schmidt said there is concern about what might happen if the Super Committee fails to come up with enough cuts to stop an automatic trigger that will result in $1.2 trillion in cuts being done. Half the cuts - $600 billion - will be taken from the Department of Defense.
Tribune Chronicle / Raymond L. Smith
Maj. Gen. Wallace W. Farris Jr. receives the unit flag from Linsenmeyer during the change of command ceremony. Schmidt, right, waits to receive the flag from Farris.
Schmidt said the command will work with and maximize what it has while it waits for the budget situation to become clear.
He officially took command of the 910th Airlift Wing Saturday during a change of command ceremony held at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station. Schmidt is taking over from Col. Stephen J. Linsenmeyer Jr., who, after a nearly two-year tour, is moving to a new assignment in Georgia.
Members of the 910th have been deployed somewhere in the world continuously since after America was attacked on Sept. 11, 2001.
"We still have about 176 members deployed," Schmidt said.
The new commander said the 910th Airlift Wing will work to establish closer ties with the civilian community.
"There is a small group that already works with us," Schmidt said. "We must build on the established relationships. We must get the community involved and find ways we can partner in the future."
Maj. Gen. Wallace W. Farris Jr. said the 910th Airlift Wing has always had good commanders, which included the work of Linsenmeyer.
Under Linsenmeyer, the 1,650 Airmen completed more than 190 deployments in support of United States contingency operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world. More than 2,600 airmen moved more than 380 tons of cargo during these missions.
During that time, the 910th Airlift wing flew more than 4,400 sorties and added more than 8,800 hours to its flying safety record. As a result of its contributions to the cleanup efforts during Operation Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the 910th was awarded the Outstanding Unit Award.
"When I arrived, I said by the time I leave, I wanted to make the 910th a little bit better," Linsenmeyer said. "I think that we all - working together - were able to accomplish that."
Schmidt, Farris noted, is a commander who is perfectly trained for a base that is preparing for change.
"He knows how to lead change," he said. "He knows how to do headquarters speak. He knows personnel. He is the right man for the right place and at the right time.''