Lt. Col. Ron Soejoto assumed command of the 482nd Air Support Group during a ceremony at the Wichita Theatre Aug. 16.
The event, presided over by Col. Brian Dumble, 4th Air Wing commander, was held in front of family, friends and several distinguished visitors from Sheppard Air Force Base and the local community.
Local dignitaries in attendance included Wichita Falls Mayor Glenn Barham, Burkburnett Mayor Carl Law and Wichita County Judge Woody Gossom.
In attendance from the United States Air Force’s 82nd Training Wing at Sheppard Air Force Base were Brig. Gen. Michael Fantini, 82nd TRW commander, Col. Dieter Bareihs, 80th Flying Training Wing commander, Chief Master Sgt. Eric Johnson, 82nd TRW command chief, and Chief Master Sgt. Phillips Jelks-Browning, 80th FTW command chief.
Soejoto, who entered the Air Force in 1976, served over 14 years on active-duty and 16 years in the Air Force Reserves, retiring in 2008. He worked in several positions as an aircraft maintenance officer while in the Air Force and is a graduate of the Air Command and Staff College, Squadron Officer School and the USAF Inspector General course.
Prior to assuming command of the 482nd ASG, Soejoto was the 4th Air Wing Sheppard AFB detachment commander and has also served on the 4th AW headquarters staff.
The mission of the group is to help augment state and local emergency management officials in the areas of security, communications and shelter management.
Integrating the group into the fabric of the existing emergency management framework in the Wichita Falls area is the new commander’s top priority.
“Being able to respond and seamlessly work in with all the emergency response agencies is key,” Soejoto said. “We’ve already started making inroads on that front… I expect us to be ready to respond to any contingency when called upon.”
During the ceremony, Dumble was effusive in his praise of Soejoto and the rest of the 482nd ASG leadership element.
“Lt. Col. Soejoto’s vision and efforts were key to making tonight happen,” said Dumble. “His leadership and the hard work of his staff have built this unit from the ground up. Putting a Texas State Guard unit in North Texas was always in our plans and Lt. Col. Soejoto made it a reality.”
Dumble also highlighted how the new unit was working side-by-side with the active-duty Air Force personnel at Sheppard.
An honor guard consisting of Airmen-in-Training from all four services at Sheppard presented the colors during the ceremony, symbolizing the contributions of many veterans in the ranks of Texas State Guard units.
“Being a part of Sheppard and the 82nd Training Wing has helped us grow,” Dumble said. “From helping install security cameras at the base child development center to augmenting the base exercise evaluation teams for the major accident response exercises, we stand ready to assist our customers when called upon.”
The unit recently completed its first annual training tour at Camp Bowie in Brownwood in late June and has conducted training with Clay County law enforcement and emergency response personnel.
For information on joining the Texas State Guard unit in Wichita Falls, contact Senior Master Sgt. Chris Riordan at firstname.lastname@example.org.