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314th AW welcomes new commander

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  • 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. -- Col. Joseph Miller assumed command of the 314th Airlift Wing from Col. Stephen Hodge during a change of command ceremony at Little Rock Air Force Base, June 16.

Previously the Deputy Director of Operations, Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration for U.S. Air Forces in Europe and U.S. Air Forces Africa, Miller now commands the nation’s tactical airlift “Center of Excellence.” However, this is not the first assignment to Little Rock for the Miller family.

“Nobody does it better than the state of Arkansas and the Little Rock community,” Miller said. “This is home for me. Some of the best experiences and greatest examples of leadership in my Air Force career have been learned right here in the 314th … and I take this sacrosanct mission very seriously.”

“We’re ultimately responsible for growing the people who will replace us and continue to serve our nation,” he continued. “It doesn’t matter what unit or what [major command] you’re with, if you’re flying J-models you got your start right here at Little Rock Air Force Base.” 

Known as the "Center of Excellence" for tactical airlift, the 314th AW trains C-130 aircrew members from the Department of Defense, Coast Guard and 47 partner nations.

The wing flies 6,115 hours annually and uses two local drop zones, two local assault landing zones, 10 regional airfields, and 50 flight simulators/training devices to train more than 1,200 students annually, including more than 150 international students in DOD’s largest international flying training program.

Miller, who began his Air Force career in 1998 after graduating the University of Alabama, is an evaluator/instructor in three variants of the C-130 and has accumulated over 2,800 flight hours including 590 combat hours in support of contingency operations.

Maj. Gen. Craig Wills, 19th Air Force commander, presided over the ceremony. After praising Hodge’s accomplishments at Little Rock, Wills said Miller will continue to lead the wing to greatness.

“Every time you see a great leader and a great family walk out the door, right behind them is another outstanding leader to take their place, and we’re lucky to have [the Miller family] back at Little Rock to pick up the torch and keep moving,” Wills said.

Wills went on to express full confidence in Miller’s ability to lead the C-130 community’s “Center of Excellence.”

“Joe has an incredible track record of success, to read his resume is to see what success looks like in our Air Force,” Wills said. “His career and track record spans from the very tactical level of combat airlift all the way to the halls of Pentagon. You’ll find no leader better prepared to assume command of this wing than Joe Miller.”

In Hodge’s outgoing address, he thanked his family, fellow leaders, the community and Little Rock Airmen.

“The view from my seat is this — what a great place to work,” he said. “You made it that way. We’ve done some great and incredible things and it’s all your doing. What a joy to give commander’s intent, a little bit of left and right, throw some resources and top cover your way, and watch you swing for the fence and deliver. What an honor it’s been.”

Hodge leaves Little Rock to become Air Education and Training Command’s deputy director of operations and communications.