An interview with the new 189 AW vice commander

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Chris Nelson
  • 189th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
The 189th Airlift Wing has announced a new vice commander that is no stranger to the wing. Col. Richard C. Oxner has had a great impact during his previous leadership roles in the 189th to include Civil Engineer Commander and Mission Support Group Commander. He recently served at the Pentagon and is back with us to further benefit the wing with his leadership.

Where are you from and what has contributed to the person you are?
I was born in Fairfax, VA and grew up in south Louisiana. The person I am comes from both my parents who are two hard working blue collar Americans and the opportunities I have had. From my first job with Jack Grimaldi at Jack's Conoco at the age of 14 where I worked in excess of 70 hours per week, to picking up campus trash at Louisiana Tech, nuke power, CE and MSG, I have had opportunities to learn and grow personally and professionally.

How did you achieve your success in the military?
Personal success is only achieved when the entire organization succeeds. Being surrounded with good people willing to do more than they are asked or even more than they thought possible within themselves, everyone benefits. I have been lucky to be associated with successful people like this throughout the years. I thank each and every one of them for their efforts and know that they will achieve the same success over the course of their career. I don't view my success by rank but rather by the organizations I have had the opportunity to be a part of over the course of my career. One great example is Security Forces and their "Excellent" rating during the 2008 ORI. That is success to me! Hooah! 

What are some goals or plans that you have?
A short term goal for us all is an Excellent in the upcoming December 2012 CUI. Many would ask, why not an Outstanding? A mentor of mine, Maj Gen Greg Schwab, relayed a story about a previous ORI in Iowa where, as the Wing Commander, he told his wing his goal was an Excellent and when asked why, he said that the Air Force core value is Excellence in ALL we do. That means that you have to be excellent with your family, excellent in your church, school, charity, or whatever else is in your life and if we sacrifice all those others for an Outstanding at one, then we are not living the core values. This insight made perfect sense to me and I believe he is right.

A long term goal is, along with Col Eggensperger and the rest of the leadership team at the 189th, work more in the here and now. Steven Covey talked about working in four quadrants, where items are important, not important, urgent and not urgent and effective organizations primarily work on issues that are important and not urgent, in other words they are working on issues before they become a crisis. One example of this is the submission of promotion packages which are due on the 15th of each month. These are important and not urgent on the 1st but on the 14th they become important and urgent and we want to avoid working in that quadrant. Leaders should be able to look at their manning documents and project promotions out at least 6 months, maybe more.

How did you find out that you were selected? What was your reaction?
Col Eggensperger called me late last year and asked if I would be interested in coming back to the 189th, I replied with an emphatic "yes". Coming home to the 189th is a blessing because I truly believe this is the best ANG wing in the country. We aren't perfect but we strive to get better and for the most part make a positive effort to do it right.

Anything else you want to say?
It is an honor and privilege to continue to serve with the men and women of the 189th Airlift Wing and I will do my best to contribute to the team and its success. I am here to be of assistance in any way I can and hope WE can leave our organization better than we found it!

Col. Oxner was born in Manassas, Va. He graduated from Riverside Academy High School in Reserve, La., and earned a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from Louisiana Tech University in 1987. He joined the Air National Guard in 1990, commissioned a second lieutenant from the Air National Guard's Academy of Military Science in November 1990 and became a civil engineering officer at the 189th Airlift Wing.

The colonel has served a combat tour in Iraq, earning a Bronze Star medal for his work as commander of the 332nd Expeditionary Civil Engineering Squadron at Balad Air Base in late 2004-early 2005.
Colonel Oxner replaced Col. Daniel Shewmaker, who now is enjoying his retirement.