HILL AIR FORCE BASE — Brig. Gen. Steven Bleymaier takes control of Hill Air Force Base’s depot maintenance arm at a pivotal time in the base’s history.
The change in command comes as the base’s two fighter wings make last-minute preparations to welcome the first Air Force combat version of the F-35. The team Bleymaier will helm — a group made up of 8,100 employees — has been performing maintenance on the next-generation fighter jet for two years now, a workload military officials say will keep the base busy for years to come.
Bleymaier, formerly the director of staff at Air Force Materiel Command headquarters in Ohio, was officially tabbed as new commander of the Ogden Air Logistics Complex during an Aug. 31 ceremony at the Hill Aerospace Museum.
The new ALC commander takes over from Brig. Gen. Carl Buhler, who held the position since last September. Buhler was selected for reassignment as Logistics Director at Air Combat Command headquarters, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va.
Buhler credited employees of the ALC for what he termed a successful one-year tenure as commander of the complex.
“It’s you, it’s your hands and your minds that make the missions happen,” he said. “Collectively it was your work that made this an air power factory.”
The Ogden ALC is the only Air Force depot maintenance facility for the F-35 and also works on jets for all United States military services.
The ALC also works on the F-35’s wheels, brakes, landing gear, panels, covers and a radar housing shell at the nose of the plane.
But that workload will expand as ALC maintainers will soon begin repairing canopies, helmets, black boxes and the suspension and release system that drops bombs.
There are currently about 100 technician jobs in the ALC tied to the F-35, but that total is expected to double in the next year.
Work in the ALC closely tied to the Air Force’s future doesn’t stop at the F-35. The complex also performs depot repair and modification on the MQ-1 Predator and the MQ-9 Reaper, the force’s Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, or drones. One year ago, the complex opened a new maintenance shop that repairs and modifies the electronic parts that keep the MQ-1, the MQ-9 and the Army’s MQ-1C Gray Eagle in the air.
“Right now our nation’s Airmen are fighting ISIS with equipment that our team provides,” Bleymaier said. “(Work at the ALC) is directly connected to our troops and our Airmen (fighting ISIS.)”
The complex also performs work on the F-16, the A-10, the C-130 Hercules, the T-38 and the Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile. All depot-level maintenance work associated with the F-22 Raptor is also performed at the ALC.
According to a base press release, Bleymaier was promoted to brigadier general earlier this month. He joined the Air Force in 1991 with a bachelor of science and commission from the U.S. Air Force Academy.
His background includes work with fighter and heavy aircraft and munitions maintenance, acquisitions logistics, legislative liaison and politico-military plans. He’s served two tours of duty in Europe and deployed three times to the Middle East.