Col. Patrick T. Kumashiro, commander of the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group, will turn over command to Col. Robert Lepper, Jr. in a July 9 ceremony on Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.
Col. Robert Lepper is a recent graduate from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, National Defense University in Washington, D.C.
Col. Kumashiroâ€™s two-year tour as the 309 AMARG commander will be followed with an assignment as the Chief, Force Development and Organizations Division, Logistics Directorate, Deputy Chief of Staff, Logistics, Installations, Mission Support, Headquarters United States Air Force at the Pentagon.
Col. Kumashiro, assumed command of AMARG in July 2010 also as a graduate of the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.
â€œI am a logistics officer. My core expertise is aircraft maintenance,â€ he said. â€œIâ€™ve been doing that my entire career and Iâ€™ve loved every minute of it,â€ Kumashiro said. â€œI have always loved aviation. My entire family has been in the aerospace business.â€
The new assignment comes with an added benefit; Kumashiro will be reunited with his wife, Col. Suzie Kumashiro. Col Suzie Kumashiro recently concluded a tour as the 8th Mission Support Group Commander at Kunsan AB, Republic of Korea, and will also be assigned to the Pentagon. â€œThe Kumashiro family is thrilled that we will all be back together again,â€ Kumashiro said.
Before Kumashiro began his assignment in Tucson, he had some initial reservations. â€œAs a maintenance officer, the career path drives us towards being a traditional flying wing maintenance group commander leading airmen and generating combat sorties,â€ he explained. â€œClearly, the assignment at AMARG is a â€˜one of kindâ€™ job. I learned very quickly that this was an incredible opportunity to lead an iconic organization and work with a superb, professional workforce.â€
Kumashiro said the 309 AMARG staff is very talented and remarkable. â€œIâ€™ve learned more from people about what they do here than what they have learned from me,â€ he said. â€œTheir phenomenal dedication to an extremely diverse mission allows them to build a portfolio of crossover skills seldom found anywhere else.â€œ
Prior to taking command of 309 AMARG, Col. Kumashiro had been on the receiving end of the supply chain.Â â€œI was in Iraq and needed a critical F-16 part and wondered where I was going to get that part from,â€ he recalled.Â â€œWe received the part from AMARG in seven days.â€
His conversations with other military leaders have resulted in compliments and praise for the work AMARG does.Â â€œTheyâ€™ve said, â€˜Wow, we got a part from you in Afghanistan, you donâ€™t know what that part meant to us,â€™â€ he pointed out.Â â€œOur folks take a lot of pride in supporting the warfighter 24/7.â€
In April, the team at the 309 AMARG was recognized for excellence when it received the Air Force Materiel Commandâ€™s Outstanding Depot Maintenance Management Team (Production) of the Year recognition. The teamâ€™s selection was based on sustained job performance, job efficiency results, job knowledge and other achievements in direct support of AFMCâ€™s Depot Maintenance Management program.
As the first Depot Maintenance Award in AMARGâ€™s 66-year history, the magnitude of this achievement couldnâ€™t have been explained better: â€œThis award recognizes AMARGâ€™s extraordinary professionals and is a reflection of the best civil service, military, and contractor workforce in the Air Force,â€ said Kumashiro. â€œIâ€™m very proud of our workforce–this is a great accomplishment!â€
Kumashiro has appreciative words for the 355th Fighter Wing. â€œIt is not easy to support a unit that doesnâ€™t belong to you,â€ he said. â€œBut the synergy we have with the base is unmatched and the support they provide to help us achieve our mission is first-rate and clearly deserving of the CINC Installation Excellence Award.â€
Proud of the cohesive relationship AMARG has with the local community, Col. Kumashiro added, â€œThe tremendous advocacy and support we get from the Tucson Metropolitan Chamber of Commerceâ€™s Military Affairs Committee, the DM-50, AFA and others in Southern Arizona is the best Iâ€™ve seen in my 22-year career. Their support of AMARG and D-M is exceptional!â€