Highest ranking position in the Utah ANG changes command
By Senior Airman Lillian Harnden, 151 ARW/PA
/ Published December 04, 2011
SALT LAKE CITY -- The highest ranking position in the Utah Air National Guard changed hands during a ceremony on base December 3.
During the change-of-command ceremony, Brig. Gen. Wayne E. Lee officially relinquished command as Assistant Adjutant General for Air, commander of the Utah Air National Guard, to Brig. Gen. David R. Fountain.
As a show of gratitude for Lee's service, and to welcome Fountain as Utah ANG's new general, Governor Gary R. Herbert and over 1000 Air Guardsmen attended the ceremony.
The Adjutant General of Utah, Major Gen. Brian L. Tarbet, said he was thrilled to have Fountain's experience on the leadership team.
"He comes wonderfully prepared to do exactly what we need to do now," said Tarbet. "He started out enlisted, he got a commission, he has wing experience, flown thousands of hours and he's worked at the national level. He has a wonderful feel for the kind of environment, and the importance, that the states participate in nationally. I feel very, very blessed to have him."
Fountain was promoted from colonel to brigadier general in August 2011, and now assumes command of over 1,400 Air Guardsmen in the Utah ANG. Prior to his current position, Fountain served as the ANG Advisor to the commander at Air Mobility Command Headquarters, Scott Air Force Base, Ill. Fountain began his career as an aircraft maintenance journeyman prior to his commissioning and awarding of his pilot wings. He has served as command pilot with more than 5000 flying hours in a variety of aircraft, flying both the C-130 Hercules and the C-17 Globemaster. His most recent operational experiences were in support of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom.
During the ceremony, Fountain directed attention to the Utah ANG's rich history and quoted a plaque he found while walking down Patriot Way near the state headquarters' building.
"A few years from now, 'A time of conflict and change 1950-1959,' could easily read, 'A time of conflict and change 2001-2012,'" said Fountain. "We have some very interesting and challenging times in front of us. I have every intention of using any, and all, resources available, and I look to the previous leadership as a significant asset as we prepare for the future."
In addition to the Global War on Terror, Fountain explained some of the challenges the Utah ANG faces.
"As we are all aware, the fiscal constraints that our nation is facing will have significant impacts on every aspect of our federal, state and local governments. I have made a commitment to the TAG, and I am now making the same commitment to all of you, that we will work diligently to ensure all levels of government fully understand what the Utah ANG brings to bear. We need to be engaged at all levels. You will see more opportunities published for both officers and enlisted to support short and long term tours."
Fountain also described a recent meeting with Utah senators and congressmen.
"I feel the meetings were successful in that folks in Washington D.C. can now put a name with a face. They understand that we are ready and willing to engage. We left them with updates on each organization, to include a snapshot of all your accomplishments supporting both federal and state missions."
Fountain explained there are attributes that leadership considers "key to future positions" for Air Guardsmen.
"We are looking for people what have a willingness to take intelligent calculated risks, who have self-confidence, loyalty to the institution, who are innovative and creative and able to effect change, to name a few," said Fountain. "Folks, we are building a bench with breadth and depth of experience."
Fountain thanked Tarbet, for his trust and the opportunity to be a part of the leadership team in Utah. Fountain also expressed appreciation for the team that he will be working with and the clean slate that Lee left him to start with.
Fountain is a second generation Air Guardsman, and also has a son enlisted in the Guard. He currently resides in Illinois with his wife, Terry, but said they are trying to sell their home so they can move to Utah.