Dagger Point: Meet your new vice commander

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Saphfire Cook
  • 355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Leadership changes are a common occurrence in the U.S. Air Force, especially with installation leadership. Davis-Monthan recently experienced such a shift at the vice commander level. Meet Col. Michael Rawls, a fighter pilot from Kentucky, and your new 355th Fighter Wing vice commander.

SC: How long have you been in the Air Force?

MR: I've been in for 21 years.

SC: And what was your first duty station?

MR: My first operational duty station was the 55th Fighter Squadron at Shaw AFB, S.C.

SC: What was your last assignment before you came here?

MR: I was at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.

SC: And what were you duties there?

MR: This is kind of a long title, but I was the chief air planner to the United States military representative to the NATO military committee.

SC: What is that exactly?

MR: Well, every country has a political representative and a military representative at NATO. The military representative is usually a three-star general. I worked in support of the general.

SC: That sounds like a demanding job. Do you have any family?

MR: I do. I've been married going on 19 years now. My wife's name is Scotta, and we have two daughters: Keegan, who's 14, and Karson, who's 12.

SC: Is this the Rawls Family's first time on the west coast?

MR: Oh no, I've lived here many times before. Let's see, I was in Las Vegas prior to going to Belgium. I was stationed at Holloman AFB, N.M., Edwards AFB, Calif., and, of course, D-M as a student pilot.

SC: What are some of your hobbies?

MR: I like to hunt and I like to fish. I like to ski; just outdoor sports in general.

SC: Well, this is a great place for outdoorsy types. Is there anything you're looking forward to doing here in Arizona?

MR: One thing I'm really excited about is getting back to the A-10. As a test pilot, I actually flew the very first flight of the A-10C. I flew it operationally, but I haven't flown it since 1997. I'm very excited to see how the plane has evolved since then.

SC: Well, we do specialize in A-10 training here at D-M. Speaking of, what was your first impression of our installation?

MR: Oh, I love D-M. I love being in a university town; I'm a really big college football fan. And coming from Belgium where the sun didn't shine that often, Tucson is a welcome change.

SC: Is this your first time as a vice commander?

MR: Yes, yes it is.

SC: What is something you hope to learn in your new position?

MR: I want to get to know as many of the Airmen as possible. Also, D-M is unique in that we have so many tenant organizations. Col. Blanchard has a big job in that it's not just the 355th FW; there are an awful lot of other things to take care of here. So for me, I think it's trying to not only support the mission of the FW but to also gain a better understanding of our tenant units' missions and how they support the bigger Air Force.

SC: What are some of your goals for the base?

MR: Well, the primary goals are to make sure that the mission gets accomplished and to support the wing commander. But also, I want people to be excited about coming to work every day. You know, they say you spend about 80 percent of your waking hours at work, so it ought to be a fun place to be. I hope that I can at least contribute to making people excited about their jobs and excited about being here.