Col. Mike Drowley, former Chief of Staff for the U.S. Air Forces Central Command, Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, took command of the 355th Fighter Wing at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., June 29, 2018.
“I was excited right from the get-go,” Drowley said when learning of his selection to be the fighter wing’s next commander. “But I knew I had big shoes to fill when I learned D-M just won installation of the year.”
Although Drowley knew there was a challenge ahead, he was eager to not only lead, but also join the award-winning team.
“I’m really excited to get to know everyone and what they do – to get to know them on a personal level so I know what I can do to help them out,” said Drowley. “It’s what I look at as one of my primary responsibilities.”
Drowley prefers this selfless approach because he sees the Airmen as part of a family, and for him, family comes first.
“For me, the best gift I could have is watching my family enjoy something,” Drowley said of his birthday. “They love sushi and I love steak, but I’d rather go to a sushi dinner because I like seeing them have a good time.”
Drowley’s family supported him as he led some of the very first combat missions to Iraq and Afghanistan. Though the deployments gave him valuable experience as a military leader, he maintained his service-oriented approach wherever he went.
“It’s not enough to be excellent yourself, you have to give that back in some form. And that’s one of the greatest responsibilities in leadership — it’s not about how you perform, or how you do, it’s how the entire team does.”
Drowley wants to make sure Airmen and their families are taken care of so that D-M has the ability to rapidly deliver combat power and maintain lethality against its adversaries.
“The previous wing commanders did a really great job articulating the mission and having a vision for where they want Davis-Monthan to go,” Drowley said. “I plan to continue the trajectory of that vision and reach new levels of excellence.”
For Drowley, coming to D-M isn’t just taking on a new leadership role, it’s joining a new team.
“Most new leaders come in giving an expectations brief — here’s what I expect of you,” Drowley said. “I look at it a little differently — here is what you can expect of me. I feel like I owe that to them.”