Smith takes command of Hill’s 419th Fighter Wing

HILL AIR FORCE BASE — The 419th Fighter Wing welcomed a new commander during a formal ceremony on Nov. 7.

Col. David Smith assumed command of nearly 1,100 people assigned to the Air Force Reserve unit, which includes operations, maintenance, mission support and medical personnel.

“I’m so humbled to stand before these great Americans,” Smith said. “I’m honored to support the 419th Fighter Wing. I want the troops to understand that I’m here to serve you.”

Smith earned his commission from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1992. He is an experienced pilot with more than 3,700 flying hours, including more than 700 hours in combat. He has deployed in support of Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, Allied Force, Northern Watch, Southern Watch, and Noble Eagle.

“You all support and defend the constitution of the United States every day,” he told the Airmen. “You need to know that I give my full effort in selfless service, just as you give your selfless service to the nation.”

Maj. Gen. Richard Scobee, 10th Air Force commander, officiated the ceremony and thanked reservists in the 419th FW for their service. 

“Your work fuels the success of the 419th Fighter Wing,” Scobee said. “Your job is to give the American people the greatest combat capability that you can, and you do that.”

Prior to his assignment with the 419th FW, Smith served as commander of the 482nd Operations Group at Homestead Air Reserve Base, Florida.

Relinquishing command was Col. Bryan Radliff, who served as commander since December 2012. Radliff’s next assignment will take him to Fort Worth, Texas, where he will serve part time as vice commander of 10th AF. He will also resume his civilian career as a Delta Airlines pilot.

This year marks a new chapter for the 419th FW with the arrival of the Air Force’s first operational F-35s. Together with active-duty Airmen in the 388th Fighter Wing, Hill reservists will transition from F-16 to F-35 operations until the last of 72 jets arrives in 2019.

Smith said he’s committed to the Total Force partnership with the 388th FW.

“Total Force is about leadership,” he said. “I will do everything in my power to fight for the resources we need to fly, fight, and win.”

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