An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

New commander sees hard work, bright future in store for 910th

  • Published
  • By Eric M. White
  • 910th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

How does an Air Force Reserve wing build upon a legacy of mission success while accelerating change to meet the nation’s defense demands in the dynamic global power landscape? That’s the question that Col. Michael Maloney, the 910th Airlift Wing’s new commander, is tasked with answering.

In front of the wing’s Airmen, his family, friends and local civic leaders, Maloney assumed command of the 910th Airlift Wing at a ceremony here, presided over by Brig. Gen. Melissa Coburn, 22nd Air Force commander, July 15, 2023.

The ceremony marked the beginning of Maloney’s first command of a wing. He came to the 910th from Air Force Reserve Command headquarters where he served as the programs division chief, and before that, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, where he was the 932nd Operations Group commander.

Maloney takes command of the 910th Airlift Wing at a time of transformation. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown issued the challenge to “accelerate change or lose” in August 2021. That challenge is in full force.

Youngstown Air Reserve Station, which is home to an aging fleet of C-130H Hercules aircraft, was recently named as the preferred basing location for a fleet of new C-130J Super Hercules aircraft, preserving the unit’s tactical airlift and aerial spray missions while enhancing and modernizing its capabilities. Cyber squadrons are changing the way the Air Force employs IT assets to master the cyber domain. The Integrated Defense Leadership Course is raising the standard of capabilities for Air Force security forces Defenders. The Innovative Readiness Training program affords real-world training opportunities for medical personnel and support staff. Each of these programs is new and based at the installation Maloney now commands. They represent a small sample of the changing landscape for Reserve forces.

Setting the tone of his leadership, Maloney stood before his wing and reiterated the prerogative of Lt. Gen. John Healy, Air Force Reserve Command commander: “Ready now, transforming for the future.” Maloney said the concept is both descriptive and directive. It describes the state of readiness expected of every Airman and unit. It also recognizes that current readiness may be insufficient for future conflicts, and thus requires transformation. Maloney sees transformation, especially in areas of long-standing comfort or complacency, as a challenge that the 910th Airlift Wing is ready to tackle.

The training rhythm for most Reservists includes monthly weekend unit training assemblies and a two-week annual tour for deeper training that often takes place in other duty locations. Most Reservists do not work in a full-time capacity for their unit. Maloney understands that this can lead to a disconnect between the training necessary to ensure readiness and the real-world operations that require that readiness.

Toward the end of September 2001, Maloney was on the rooftop patio of the hospital where his son had just been born. His B-52 navigator, a close friend, had come to congratulate him. As they looked out at the night sky, Maloney contemplating the weight and joy of becoming a father, his friend asked how things were going at the schoolhouse where Maloney was a B-52 Stratofortress instructor pilot. Maloney lamented that he no longer got to do as much of the mission flying as he preferred when his friend pointed toward the eastern horizon. There, the lights of a B-52 Stratofortress accelerated along the ground before lifting into the sky.

“That’s doom nine eight, Jimmy Covelli,” his friend said.

A second B-52 took off.

“That’s doom zero three, Jeff Aiken.”

Another took off. Another aircraft designation. Another name.

They were flying overseas in response to the September 11 terrorist attacks. They were flying to war. As each B-52 slipped the bonds of earth, Maloney was struck by the sudden weight of his instructor role.

“Well dude,” his friend said, “I hope you taught them well, cause this just got real.”

Maloney went back to work with a new sense of purpose in his role as an instructor.

Maloney shared this story with his new wing to compel his Airmen to not lose sight of the mission in the profession of arms. The next conflict is unknown. The next theater or area of operations is unknown. The mission requirements are unknown. But readiness can be constantly measured, tested, evaluated and improved. That’s the task the new 910th commander is giving his wing.

During the ceremony, before offering his remarks, Maloney stood at stage center facing Brig. Gen. Coburn. Behind them, Chief Master Sgt. Jennifer McKendree, the 910th AW command chief, held the 910th Airlift Wing’s official flag. Emblazoned with the winged sword and bold letter Y reaching skyward, the flag represents the unit’s mission, history and Airmen. Coburn extended the flag, hers to bestow, toward Maloney who accepted it, symbolizing the official transfer of authority and the weight of leadership that comes with it.

For the majority of Airmen in attendance, the ceremony was their introduction to Col. Michael Maloney, the new commander of their unit. It was their first chance to hear his intentions in leadership, vision for the wing and mission prerogatives.

Given the size of the installation and number of Reservists assigned, most 910th Airmen won’t see the commander every time they attend training, and perhaps the connection between a leader’s public statements and their impact on the practical day-to-day work that it takes to accomplish the mission isn't always clear. That connection will be fostered by group commanders, squadron commanders and NCOs under the direction of the new wing commander.

But even as those connections are developed and implemented, Maloney is clear on what will be driving them under his leadership.

The 910th Airlift Wing must be ready now while transforming for the future.