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The new Vice is ready to listen

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Ivyann Castillo
  • 171 ARW/PA
     Most people know this funny, kind-hearted, out-going newly pinned full-bird colonel whether they can tell stories of his enlisted days all the way to being the former Security Forces Squadron Commander.
     Col. Steven R. Painter became the new vice commander of the 171st Air Refueling Wing in November after a brief term as the mission support group commander.
     "I absolutely have been blessed to get this position," said Painter.  "I always aspire to be the best regardless where I am; when I was squadron commander, I strived to be a group commander and so on."
     Throughout his career he learned that empowering people to take on a mission whether it's small or large was a great trait to possess.  "Everyone wants to do well and be part of something when given the chance," calling himself a team cheerleader and smiling.  "when you empower people especially young airmen to do their job, they overly excel at the task."
     According to Painter, the best attribute for a colonel and a commander is to be a good communicator.  His "first order of business is to meet and visit with the people" under his command.  He states how important it is for people to know who you are so the lines of communication don't get distorted and information can be trickled down accordingly.
     Painter recalls the days of being the security forces commander without initially being in that career field.  "It was a different experience for me but I knew I could be their commander.  I enjoyed being in that squadron especially when we deployed," stated Painter.  "Deploying with the fine men and women of the SFS was a highlight of my career; I was proud and honored to serve with them."
     He looks forward to commanding the airmen of the 171st because they are a "well established team."
     "That's why you join the Guard, to be part of history or something larger then yourself," said Painter.
     So if you see our new vice, give him a pat on the back, a hand shake hello, but be cautious with a punch in the arm; he is here to listen, direct and command in your presence.