New horizons: 911th Airlift Wing welcomes Col. Douglas Stouffer as new commander

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Marjorie A. Schurr
  • 911th Airlift Wing

Steel Airmen of the 911th Airlift Wing bid farewell to Col. Bryan M. Bailey as Col. Douglas Stouffer took the reins during a change of command ceremony at the Pittsburgh International Airport Air Reserve Station, Pennsylvania, March 2, 2024.

The ceremony was officiated by Maj. Gen. D. Scott Durham, 4th Air Force commander. Alongside Steel Airmen stood elected officials and key community leaders who continue to serve as critical partners in the 911th AW’s mission.

“We welcome all of you here today,” said Durham. “Your support and presence reminds us of the vital importance of the community effort which enables the 4th AF mission of rapid global mobility.”

Stouffer was previously the commander of the 512th Airlift Wing at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, a position he took on in August 2021. He received his commission through the Air Force ROTC program at Pennsylvania State University in 1991 and has since served as an instructor pilot, wing safety officer, flight examiner, and director of operations. To begin his tenure in his newest role, Stouffer emphasized the two words he wants Steel Airmen to remember.

“The two words I want you to take away are, ‘thank you,’” said Stouffer. “You will not remember anything that any of us said tomorrow. We’re going to go on and get back to work. But I do want you to hear ‘thank you’ from me. I appreciate each and every one of you for your willingness to serve.”

While a change of command brings the opportunity to meet and welcome a new commander, it also brings the necessity of a farewell to the former one. Bailey, who had served as the 911th Operations Group commander before assuming command of the 911th AW in July 2022, will go on to
serve as the commander of the 452nd Air Refueling Wing at March Air Reserve Base, California.

During the ceremony, Bailey was also awarded the Legion of Merit for exceptionally meritorious conduct during his tenure as commander. He emphasized in his words to the wing that it was not his achievement, but instead the result of the hard work of all Steel Airmen.

“I wish I could give it to all of you, because there were a lot of ‘Col. Bailey did’ and [similar] wording, but I didn’t do any of it; the men and women of the 911th AW are who accomplished those things,” said Bailey. “They put it on a piece of paper for me and I’ll take it with me, along with the memories of the great things that we’ve accomplished together. Thank you to all of you for being part of my team, and thank you for letting me be part of yours.”

While Steel Airmen took the opportunity to reflect on all the team has accomplished over the past two years with Bailey as commander, Durham emphasized that the need to be ready for the future fight continues regardless of who holds command.

“The grit that you’ve shown and the determination to get the mission done here is amazing and greatly appreciated,” said Durham. “… Change is coming. But for here, do the best job that you can do at your assigned duty. In short, if you do the work, for both yourself and your job specialty, then your unit will be better for it, and you will be ready for whatever challenge may present itself.”

To empower Steel Airmen to do exactly that, Stouffer stated his intent to put forth his strongest effort on their behalf.

“My commitment to each and every one of you out here is that… I want to personally make this the best assignment that any of you have had in the military,” said Stouffer. “That’s why I come to work every day, and you will get my 110% effort to make that a reality.”