NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Col. Richard Boutwell was recently named the 99th Air Base Wing commander.
Boutwell came from the Pentagon in Va., where he served as the chief of the Force Application Division, Joint Staff/J8.
As the new ‘Nellis Mayor’ he will lead more than 12,000 assigned personnel at Nellis and Creech AFBs, and the Nevada Test and Training Range, who provide installation support for operational testing, tactics development, and advanced training in air, space and cyberspace, as well as global remotely piloted aircraft operations.
Boutwell, who is a command pilot with more than 3,500 flying hours, once served as a Thunderbirds pilot, and shared his thoughts and expectations for his tenure back at Nellis as the 99th ABW commander.
Q: What part of being the 99th ABW commander are you looking forward to the most?
A: Getting to meet the folks who make up the wing and being part of a fantastic team. I grew up playing team sports, so this is an exciting time because I get to swap teams, meet new people, see their talents, and see how I can help them improve and how they can help me improve. Meeting people is always exciting. Jobs and assignments come and go, but it’s the people you meet that make them special.
Q: How do you think your previous experiences will help you as commander here?
A: When I served on the Thunderbirds the last time I was here, I had the opportunity to go out and represent those in the Air Force. That experience helps you understand it’s not about you, and your role is to represent everybody else. I think that plays into every job I go into because it’s about the people, the mission and what I can do to better them both.
Q: How do you feel about being back at Nellis?
A: I love being back at Nellis! It’s an exciting place to be, and it’s really the cornerstone of the Air Force and air power. I’ve heard it said many times, ‘As goes Nellis, so goes the Air Force.’ This is the cutting edge of tactics development, improving our instructor pilots and their capabilities, and making us better war fighters.
Q: What are your short- and long-term goals?
A: Short term is to get out and see all of our organizations, and get to know people on a more personal level. My long-term goal is to continue to build on the successes that we’ve had over the last couple of years; continue to improve our service and support for our Airmen and their families to make this a place where folks want to come and bring their families; and to not only serve here at Nellis, but to be part of the Las Vegas community.
Q: In two years when you pass the guidon to the incoming commander, what do you want your legacy to be?
A: I want my legacy to be that I was a servant leader who was interested in serving the Airmen as much as the other way around.
Q: What is one thing that’s really important to you?
A: Family is definitely important to me and however each of us defines that term. I may have my wife and children, but I realize some people may not be at that point in their lives, so family can be friends or just people who you surround yourself with. I know it provides good support and motivation for doing a good job, and is rewarding when you get to go home to someone who’s looking forward to you coming back.
Q: Is there anything you’d like to say to Team Nellis?
A: It’s very humbling to be back and to have the opportunity to serve as the commander. You could potentially find yourself lost in such a big organization because there are so many moving parts, but the thing I want to emphasize to Airmen is that it only takes one Airman to make a difference. It only takes one Airman to do an ordinary act to have an extraordinary impact in somebody’s day, the mission, or someone else’s life.