HILL AIR FORCE BASE — Largely influenced by relatives serving in the military, Steven Bleymaier knew he wanted to make the Air Force his career by the time he was in the 10th grade.
Now, 32 years later — and after 24 years of service — Brig. Gen. Steven Bleymaier is starting his 21st Air Force assignment as commander of the Ogden Air Logistics Complex. And from the start, he plans to focus on the mission as well as the people that accomplish it.
“The mission comes first, and to accomplish the mission, you have to take care of the people,” he said, “because it’s the people and their expertise that they bring to the job that is our No. 1 resource.
“I’m honored to join this team of professionals surrounded by enterprise teammates and a great community. The Ogden ALC is a key player in today’s Air Force. We’re providing air power, major repair, overall modification — you’ve seen the list — C-130s, T-38s, A-10s, F-15s, F-35s, F-22s, ICBMs, software. You think about that portfolio and all the commodities and how all the other complexes rely on us as well as the other services. We touch it all. The Air Force relies on us. The warfighter relies on us.”
Growing up, Bleymaier moved numerous times as part of an Air Force family, and attended three high schools in different states. His father is retired Col. Joseph Bleymaier Jr., and his grandfather was Maj. Gen. Joseph Bleymaier, Sr.
“My grandfather enlisted as an ammo troop at the beginning of World War II and then became an officer during World War II and was there at the beginning of the Air Force in 1947,” the general said. “He was in the space and missile acquisition business — the old Systems Command, and my dad was a fighter pilot. My grandfather on my mom’s side also served in the Army in World War II as a doctor.”
Bleymaier followed his father’s example and attended the Air Force Academy, but it wasn’t until his senior year there that he chose his career field.
“With some advice from my dad, I chose aircraft and munitions maintenance. As he said, ‘That’s where the rubber meets the road!’ and he was right,” the general said. “And I’ve never looked back. It’s been intense, rewarding, people driven and mission focused working within that career field.”
Bleymaier comes to Hill after serving as Director of Staff for Air Force Materiel Command. His past assignments have taken him three times to the Middle East, twice to Europe, and range from commanding an air base wing and maintenance groups to serving on the Joint Staff.
“The Air Force leadership is good about moving people to gain the right experiences so that they can be placed into positions down the road and be effective,” he said. “Where I’ve been and what I’ve done, it seems like I’m perfectly lined up now to do this job. I don’t know it all — there’s so much to learn in this job, but I’ve had the benefit of various experiences that have prepared me.”
One experience that started what the general calls “a work in progress” was marrying his wife, Wendy, 22 years ago while working in his first assignment at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England. The couple has nine children — five adopted — ranging in age from 19 to 4.
“My wife is amazing — her job is 10 times more difficult than mine, no matter what my job is or where I’m at,” Bleymaier said. “We try to work as a team with each family member supporting each other. There are some things that my family needs me to do for them and I try to make those a priority so when I can’t be there, they know that it’s the exception and not the rule. We all make sacrifices and we all do it for the warfighter and their family, because my kids understand what it means to support the bigger Air Force family. They do have a clue why daddy does what he does and why daddy’s not here sometimes, and they get that.”
Bleymaier credits leaders and those he has worked with for helping him get where he is today.
“It always comes down to the team and the people I’m surrounded with, working together to tackle challenges and see the opportunities that those challenges represent.”
The general has seen several changes in the Air Force during his career, but what impresses him the most is how processes are being standardized and communication has improved.
“When you think about the Air Force Sustainment Center, it used to be three separate depots each doing things their own way,” he said. “Now, you have three years of learning from each other, figuring out best practices, improving processes using Lean principles, Air Force Smart Operations, all consolidated into the AFSC Way. We’re blown away by how much the depots have improved their processes — but then you see the Art of the Possible and what there is still to do, and realize you can continue to do that across every shop in each complex.”
He urges the Ogden ALC employees to keep using the AFSC Way, to infuse it into how they think and how they operate to improve processes and increase availability for the warfighter.
“It’s not about improving processes for the sake of improving processes,” he said. “It’s for a purpose and that purpose is to support the warfighter — to provide the best combat capability to the warfighter.
“Everything we do in the Ogden ALC is lifesaving. Every single task each member does throughout their day is connected to providing combat airpower to warfighters today and tomorrow — reliable, safe combat airpower that is on time and cost-effective,” the general said.
“I’m excited about the road ahead and what the team will accomplish this year working together with our enterprise teammates and community partners.”