302nd Airlift Wing welcomes new commander

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Tiffany Lundberg
  • 302nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The 302nd Airlift Wing welcomed their new commander during a change of command ceremony, Aug. 1, here. Col. Christopher Zidek, 413th Flight Test Group commander, assumed command of the 302 AW from Col. James DeVere.

Maj. Gen. John Healy, 22nd Air Force commander, presided over the ceremony and Col. Michael Moeding, 302 AW vice commander, presented the wing’s group and squadron commanders in a formation. The formation presented a salute to Healy, the farewell salute to DeVere and first salute to Zidek. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the event was aired through Facebook Live, providing wing members the opportunity to watch it while social distancing.

As the new commander, Zidek will be responsible for organizing, training and equipping more than 1,300 Air Force reservists, whose missions are tactical airlift and airdrop, aeromedical evacuation and the U.S. Forest Service’s Modular Airborne Fire Fighting Systems.

“My focus areas are straight forward: people, readiness and culture,” said Zidek. “First and most importantly are people. Kate and I view the 302nd Airlift Wing as our new family and that means taking exceptional care of you and your families every day. Stay focused on the mission and I’ll stay focused on you.”

Providing combat-ready Reserve Citizen Airmen is his second focus area. The Air Force Reserve’s mission is to be ready to deploy at a moment’s notice to provide worldwide support.

“Third, we will embrace the culture that is built on trust, accountability, transparency and team work,” he continued. “It’s a culture where every Airman in the wing is treated with dignity and respect, has a voice in the conversation, feels safe in expressing their ideas and is empowered to take smart risks knowing that leadership will always have their back.”

Zidek brings 24 years of Air Force and the Air Force Reserve operational, training and test flight experience with more than 2,500 flight hours in seven different aircraft.

“Thank you for allowing me the privilege of leading and serving you. Along with Col. Moeding and Chief Master Sgt. (Khan) Scalise, I will work hard every day to earn your trust and confidence as we continue to make the Mile High Wing the best in the 22nd Air Force. Let’s get started.”