After 7 years and four leadership positions, colonel bids farewell to MacDill

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Vernon L. Fowler Jr.
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing public affairs
As soon as he appears at the bottom of the ladder, he is greeted by blasts of water to the face and a champagne shower. At the conclusion of his fini flight at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, Col. Brian Smith, 6th Operations Group commander and Germantown, Tennessee native, can't help but smile.

"It [fini flight] is definitely surreal," said Smith. "I don't get to fly nearly as much as I want to, so any flight is a treat for me."

On July 21, 2015, members of Team MacDill, 6th OG personnel, and 6th Maintenance Group personnel properly bid farewell to Smith on the flightline.

Normally, the squadron, group, and installation commanders are expected to fill their respective positions for approximately two years before a permanent change of station to their next duty assignment. Smith, on the other hand, has served in four different leadership positions to include chief of Wing Safety, 91st Air Refueling Squadron commander, 6th OG deputy commander, and 6th OG commander equaling a total of seven years at MacDill.

"We have thought for many years we would be moving each year, only to discover we'd be here for another," said Smith. "We have always felt lucky and blessed to be here so long."

Smith's Air Force story began in 1991, when he graduated from the University of Memphis with a bachelor's degree in finance before commissioning with a desire to become a pilot. Throughout his time leading up to MacDill, Smith has developed deep expertise in all aspects of air refueling.  He has flown tanker aircraft for over 22 years at four different installations and served as an instructor at the U.S. Air Force Weapons School in the KC-135 Weapons Instructor Course.

Presently, Smith is grateful for the memories he and his family have created at MacDill. He says that he is looks forward to helping shape Air Mobility Command's Airlift, Air refueling and Aeromedical Evacuation aircrew training policies, as well as the force management of the command's officer and enlisted aviators, in his new duty assignment, chief of Aircrew Training at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois.

"My family and I have enjoyed every minute of our time at MacDill and will cherish the relationships and memories formed here," said Smith. "We look forward to going to Scott AFB and moving closer to our families."