Col. Patrick Renwick said his appointment as commander of Fort Wayne’s Air National Guard base “is a dream come true for me.”
“I think we’ve got a great future. We’ve got a great legacy, steeped in tradition, and I really appreciate the confidence Gen. Umbarger has shown in me to take the mantle,” Renwick told news reporters Thursday at the Ferguson Road base.
Gen. R. Martin Umbarger, adjutant general for Indiana, announced a day earlier he had selected Renwick to replace the 122nd Fighter Wing’s retiring commander, Col. David Augustine.
The command will change Sept. 13 at the base, where more than 1,000 airmen are assigned.
Renwick, vice commander of the 181st Intelligence Wing in Terre Haute, was among four applicants, all from Indiana bases, for the Fort Wayne post, according to Lt. Col. Cathy Van Bree, public affairs officer for the Indiana National Guard.
Renwick, 51, has piloted A-10 combat jets flown by the fighter wing and F-16 fighters that preceded them and will replace the A-10s in coming years.
“I flew the A-10 on active duty; I loved it,” he said Thursday at the fighter wing’s Baer Field Heritage Air Park. “I flew the F-16 in the Air National Guard; I loved it, too.”
Renwick anticipates his return to the cockpit.
“I look forward to getting back in it. … I can’t wait,” he said about the A-10, which he said he first flew in 1990 while in the Air Force. He has flown missions in Iraq and deployed a year ago to Afghanistan for six months in a command inspection capacity.
Augustine, 50, is retiring because of a medical condition that prevents him from flying, a requirement for a fighter wing commander. He has led the 122nd Fighter Wing since early 2011.
The Terre Haute base where Renwick has been stationed since 1998 monitors video from unmanned military aircraft. It had been a fighter wing that flew F-16s until 2008, when the 181st was converted to an intelligence mission after a round of Base Realignment and Closure by the Department of Defense.
“Of course I sting a little bit from BRAC, as any fighter pilot would when the airplanes go away,” Renwick said. “I know down in Terre Haute we embraced the new mission and pressed forward like good airmen, and we did it the best we could possibly do.”
There is speculation that another round of BRAC is imminent.
In 2012, the Pentagon planned to replace Fort Wayne’s 21 A-10s with half as many propeller planes used for intelligence and surveillance, but Congress blocked that switch and other base realignment proposals.
“What I’d like to do is really concentrate on moving ourselves forward, being the best unit that we can, and that’s the best way to stave off any kind of BRAC,” Renwick said Thursday.
Renwick said about his Thursday arrival in Fort Wayne, “I’m sitting down with key staff and getting a feel for the place, soaking it all in.”
He said being named to command a fighter wing “is an honor and a privilege.”