Colonel Boothman Takes Command of 157th Air Operations Group

  • Published
  • By Maj. Jeffrey M. Bishop, APR
  • Chief, 131st Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Col. Bill Boothman took command of the 157th Air Operations Group during a change of command ceremony on the Parade Field during September drill here today.

Boothman assumed command of the unit from Col. Rick Chapman during the ceremony, which was presided over by 131st Bomb Wing Commander Col. Ken Eaves. Boothman previously served as acting commander of the unit while a large contingent of the group, including Chapman, was deployed to Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, earlier this year.

The 157th responds to operational requirements within the Pacific Air Forces area of responsibility, which covers an area from the east coast of Africa to the west coast of the Americas.  The group provides command and control to plan, execute and assess aerospace operations as the senior element of a Theater Air Control System. 

In his remarks, Eaves celebrated the successes of the 157th and held them up as a model for what the Air National Guard is, citing the group's rapid response to historic flooding in the St. Louis area over the New Year holiday as part of the Missouri Guard's state emergency duty call-up. This mission occurred just days prior to the major overseas deployment in support of the group's federal mission.

"You all have, continue to answer this nation's call, whether it be combat or exercise, whether it be at home or abroad," he said. "You are the epitome of what it means to be a Missouri Guardsman and Airman. Thank you all for your dedication to all our missions.

Eaves recognized the various challenges that Boothman will face as the 157th's new commander, but is confident in his ability to lead the group through those challenges.

"You are taking command of an outstanding organization, which is a tremendous challenge because you have to lead them to be even better than they are right now," Eaves said. "Here's the good news, though: you are the right man to make all that happen."

Boothman remarked that he draws inspiration from basketball hall of famer Earvin Johnson, Jr. Already the leading point scorer for his team, Johnson resolved early on in his career to not only be the best player he could be, but to also "use my God-given talent to help everyone on the team be a better player." In doing so, he earned the nickname "Magic - for his ability to raise the level of play of every team that he ever played on," he said.

"We will continue to strengthen this team of ours, and we each have ownership in that effort and in exploiting each other's talents," Boothman added. "I hope everyone is as excited about these challenges as I am."