Col. Contino takes command of the 914 ARW

  • Published
  • By Kevin Nichols
  • 914th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

The 914th Air Refueling Wing hosted a change of command ceremony here Friday, July 7, 2023 in Hangar 907 amidst the backdrop of a unit KC-135 Stratotanker refueling aircraft and with numerous distinguished visitors and base personnel in attendance.  Col. Joseph Contino accepted command of the wing from Brig. Gen. D. Scott Durham, 4th Air Force commander.

As presiding officer for the ceremony, Durham spoke to those in attendance and online about the career of the new wing commander as well as the challenges and rewards of the position.

“Col. Contino, you’ve had quite the career and it’s about to get even better,” said Durham.  “From your early days as an A-7 Corsair ammo troop and a KC-135 boom operator with the Ohio Air National Guard to most recently the commander here of the 914th Operations Group, you’ve demonstrated a passion for service and the ability to lead from the front.  Nowhere else will you have a greater ability to motivate and influence airmen’s lives then as a wing commander.”

Contino takes command of the unit’s approximately 1,600 military and civilian member force who operate, maintain, and support eight assigned KC-135s.

“I appreciate all of this, but this really isn’t about me,” said Contino.  “This is about all of you out there, 914th Air Refueling Wing, and how I can serve you.”

Contino spoke about his appreciation for the Reserve and the role it has played in helping shape his career.

“To the Air Force Reserve Command:  institutionally, and historically has always believed in me.  Even though I am what is known as a Guard baby, it is AFRC that believed in me as a Staff Sgt. Boom operator to send me to OTS and UPT to fly Hercs, and now you saw in me the knowledge and leadership you needed for this unit and this mission.  I thank you.”

Regarding his leadership and management style, Contino further explained, “To every Airman of the 914th Air Refueling Wing, I am here for you.  This isn’t about me, at all.  This is what I will do for you:  I will be a manager of energy, a time traveler when I need to be, if I have to teach you about the past or tell you what’s going to happen in the future, I will.  I will also be a dealer of hope.  I will provide you resources.  I will provide you a mirror when you need one, and I will provide you top cover.  I will always ask three questions: What is happening, what isn’t happening, and what can I do to effect change.  There’s three questions YOU should also be asking.”

Contino will be taking over for Col. Lara Morrison, who departs Niagara to become the Director of the Mobility Operations Division at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois.