New era begins in Fort Wayne

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Justin Andras
  • 122nd Fighter Wing
September 13, 2014, the 122nd Fighter Wing welcomed its newest leader of the proud Fort Wayne Air National Guard Base, Fort Wayne, Indiana, Col. Patrick R. Renwick, while simultaneously saluting former Wing Commander, Col. David L. Augustine following his retirement. The symbolic passing of the torch between the commanders was overseen by Maj. Gen. R. Martin Umbarger, the Adjutant General of Indiana. 

Renwick, arriving from the 181st Intelligence Wing, Terre Haute, Indiana, brings with him 26 years total military experience with more than 3,000 flight hours and more than 140 combat flight hours on numerous aircraft including the 122FW's current A-10 Thunderbolt II. Ironically enough, he began his military career in the active duty flying the A-10s and said this opportunity feels like "coming home."

"I'm humbled to be given this opportunity by Maj. Gen. Umbarger by choosing and entrusting in me with the airmen and mission of the 122nd Fighter Wing," said Renwick. "You prepare your entire career for an opportunity like this and this is all I imagined and more."

While serving for more than 16 years with the 181IW, Renwick served in various roles including Assistant Flight Commander for the F-16C aircraft, weapons and flight officer, aircraft maintenance squadron commander, air operations squadron commander, and finally wing vice commander.

The retiring Augustine served as wing commander since January 8, 2011. While in command he oversaw several critical domestic exercises and overseas deployments including tours to Qatar and Iraq. The commander was responsible for initiating and continuing lobbying efforts to organize the wing's current deployment of more than 300 troops. The definitive mission represents the longest period for an aviation package of this size in wing history.  Augustine retired with 31 years of military service and was awarded the Indiana Distinguished Service Medal by Umbarger.

The transition from one commander to another requires patience and dedication and Renwick is committed to ensuring that transition happens as smoothly and carefree as possible. The successful transition can be attributed by his specific leadership philosophy.

"A mentor of mine once told me 'a leader is always present and moving towards the point of danger,'" said Renwick. "That doesn't just apply to a combat situation but also here at home in many different instances. A leader must be present and engaged with his people to solicit from them what they need to do their job."

Good leadership is the key to any successful endeavor and that begins at the top. This good leadership must also acknowledge the environment in which the group operates, which in this case is the city of Fort Wayne, Indiana. The wing has enjoyed a longstanding, positive relationship with the tight-knit community which has ensured continued success domestically and abroad by reinforcing the importance of a family-style environment.

"Community engagement is a key factor," said Renwick. "The support here is better than any I've seen anywhere in my military career. Without them there is no success. They are our employers, brothers, sisters, aunts, and uncles who make doing what we do a lot easier."

The wing appears to be in good hands with Renwick at the helm. This comes at a time of active deployment and the near future task of converting from the wing's current A-10 mission to the F-16 mission. Renwick is passionate about maintaining the wing's future and the current federal and state role with the Air National Guard.

"My job is to ensure we line up the off ramps of our current mission with the on ramps of our new mission so we don't have any gaps in the middle," said Renwick. "Not lining up those ramps appropriately can cause future issues with retention, recruiting, and overall focus so we're working diligently to ensure we have a graceful transition."

Long term goals for the wing include building longevity for continued value and viability and Renwick considers that bridge to be the F-16 aircraft. The aircraft in order to stay competitive for providing the needed resources for the state and country and ensuring all members of the base receive adequate support and acknowledgement.

"I want every airman to see the end result of their personal efforts," said Renwick. "What we're doing overseas is a direct result of the actions of the Civil Engineering troops who maintain the base to the Security Forces troop who protects our base and everywhere else in between."