Air base commander announces replacement

By Ed Runyan


Col. Dan Sarachene, who announced Friday his time as commander of the 910th Airlift Wing will end in February, brought Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber members up to date on efforts to preserve the wing.

“We need to keep up. We need to keep these facilities top-notch so that when they are looking for areas to put new missions, we are ready for that,” Sarachene told more than 100 attendees at the annual Good Morning Trumbull County breakfast at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station.

Sarachene mentioned two new gates to be built — the main gate along King Graves Road “that is really close to the road,” which takes a lot of effort to protect, and another new gate for commercial traffic.

“We are one of the only facilities in the United States that has a military landing zone,” Sarachene said of a runway at the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport.

And to make it even more valuable, the Air Force is looking to improve it to enable C-17 aircraft to use it.

Sarachene said it’s important for the reserve station that it has support from the local business community.

“We need to get our name out there. How do we do that? Inside the fence, first and foremost, we need to do the mission. We need to be the best we can be. We can’t meet the minimum standard. We need to meet the excellence standard. We need to do the mission well, and we have been doing the mission well.”

At the end of the breakfast, Sarachene announced that Col. Joe Janik will take over for him Feb. 9. Janik has been vice wing commander for the airlift wing for the past year.

Sarachene said being commander has been “the best thing that’s happened to me in my professional career.” He’s lived in the Mahoning Valley since 1999 and plans to remain here. Sarachene has been on leave from his civilian job as a commercial pilot since just after he became commander in February 2017, but that leave ended in October.

Janik is full time, and so was Col. James Dignan, the commander before Sarachene. “I’ve been able to bridge the gap between those two people,” Sarachene said.

“I look forward to finishing my time on a high note and a smooth transition to a most capable and honorable man, Col. Joe Janik,” Sarachene said.

Sarah Boyarko, chief operating officer for the chamber, gave an update on the HomeGoods project for Lordstown, saying she expects a “formal announcement and groundbreaking in early 2019 for the $170 million investment.”

She said she believes the 1,000 jobs HomeGoods will bring to Trumbull County will “grow well beyond that.”

She also said she expects the remediation of 250 acres of the 1,100-acre former RG Steel property south of Warren to be “fully remediated in the coming months.”

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