Vienna air base welcoming new commander

VIENNA — Reservists at the 910th Airlift Wing will welcome back Col. Jeff Van Dootingh, this time as their new commander in a ceremony scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Sunday at the air station.

Nearly 17 years of his 36-year Air Force career were spent at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station.

The 910th is comprised of more than 1,400 Air Force Reserve and civilian professionals and is equipped with eight C-130H2 aircraft.

Presiding over the Sunday event will be 22nd Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. John P. Healy, from Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Georgia.

Van Dootingh, who will be the installation commander of YARS, has amassed more than 420 combat flying hours in Panama, Southwest Asia and the Balkans, including the first C-130 mission into northern Iraq at the onset of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

From July 1991 to February 2000, he served as the 757th Airlift Squadron C-130H standardization / evaluation navigator. From February 2000 to February 2005, he served as the 910th Operations Group chief of current operations and from February 2005 to January 2008, he served as the 910th Operations Group deputy commander.

Prior to returning to YARS, his assignment, since June 2019, was serving as the 403rd Wing Commander at Keesler AFB, Mississippi, which included commanding the ‘Hurricane Hunters,’ the Department of Defense’s only weather reconnaissance mission.

His recent assignments also include serving from June 2013 to August 2014 as the Air Force Reserve Command Headquarters chief of programs at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia.

From August 2014 to February 2018, he served as the 911th Airlift Wing Commander at Pittsburgh International Airport Air Reserve Station, and from February 2018 to June 2019, he served as the 22nd Air Force Director of Staff at Dobbins ARB, Georgia

Van Dootingh commissioned in 1985 upon graduation from the Air Force Academy. A 1986 distinguished graduate of Undergraduate Navigator Training at Mather Air Force Base, California, he served more than six years on active duty as an instructor navigator and flight safety officer before joining the Air Force Reserve in 1991.

As a traditional reservist, he served as a standardization / evaluation navigator while working as a chemist until 1995 when he became a dual-status Air Reserve Technician. Since that time, he has held a number of diverse positions such as chief of current operations.

It was in 2019 when Col. Joseph D. Janik became the commander of the wing at Vienna, assuming the responsibilities at the time from Col. Dan Sarachene.

Janik, who grew up in Buffalo, New York, is now the fourth commander at Westover Air base in Massachusetts since 2016. Most commanders in the recent past have stayed in the position for two years or less before being promoted and reassigned to other positions in the Air Reserve.


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