KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --
Col. Jeffrey A. Van Dootingh assumed command of the 403rd Wing during a change of command ceremony at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., June 9, 2019.
22nd Air Force commander Maj. Gen. Craig L. La Fave presided over the ceremony and oversaw the relinquishment of command for outgoing commander Col. Jennie R. Johnson.
Van Dootingh, a navigator by trade with more than 7,500 flight hours, is a familiar face to the 403rd Wing having served as the 403rd Operations Group commander from February 2012 to June 2013 before serving as the director of staff at 22nd Air Force, Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Ga.
La Fave said Van Dootingh has been around a while because he loves the Air Force and he loves the people, so he is going to do a great job for the wing.
Van Dootingh’s new role is to lead the 403rd Wing of 1,500 personnel and the only Air Force Reserve C-130J unit-equipped wing. The wing’s mission is to train, equip and employ airlift forces in support of the nation’s interests. This includes the only weather reconnaissance mission in the Department of Defense as well as tactical airlift and airdrop, aeromedical evacuation and agile combat support.
Prior to relinquishing command, Johnson thanked her fellow wing leaders, Airmen, and her family for the support received since her assumption of command in May 2017. She will now serve as the Mobilization Assistant to the Commander of the 618th Air Operations Center-Tanker Airlift Control Center at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois.
Following words from La Fave and Johnson, the new commander acknowledged his appreciation of the support from community and military leaders and his family. He then addressed his new reservists, communicating his plan to listen to ideas, answer questions, and create an environment that allows and encourages members to achieve the goals they set upon joining the Air Force.
“You wrote a check that less than one percent of Americans make and every one of you pulled out your checkbook and on the ‘To,’ line you put, ‘the United States of America,’ and on the second line where you put how much you wrote ‘up to and including my life,’” said Van Dootingh. “Who does that? You did, and that is why it is my humble honor to serve you and to serve with you”