The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Opinion

June 13, 2014

We thank the outgoing wing commander, welcome new one

ENID, Okla. — More than anything, Col. Darren James will miss the people of Enid.

James, the outgoing Vance Air Force Base 71st Flying Training Wing commander, ends his tenure Wednesday.

The past two years have passed all too quickly, James said recently. He previously had served as an instructor pilot and flight commander here from February 1996 to June 1999, wrapped around a six-month stint at Randolph AFB, Texas.

James will take with him gratitude for the opportunity to be a wing commander, the impact Vance has had on the Air Force as a whole and the quality of life in Enid.

“This job, compared to some of the other potential wing commands I could have had, this has the most direct contribution to our Air Force mission,” James said. “The family atmosphere, both because of the support we have from the town and the support from the base, just the way this mission set is constructed, in my eyes it leaves you with a good feeling about where this Air Force is going.”

Next, James will go to Scott AFB, Ill., to become the deputy J3, or operations officer, for United States Transportation Command.

We thank him for his service and wish him the best.

James will relinquish his post to Col. Clark J. Quinn.

Quinn is a senior pilot with more than 2,400 hours in fighter jets — F-15Es and F-16s.

He comes to Vance from Shaw AFB, S.C., where until April he was vice commander of 20th Fighter Wing, which includes three squadrons of F-16CJs.

Quinn, a 1991 graduate of the University of Florida with a degree in aerospace engineering, was a navigator and weapons systems officer before becoming a pilot.

Quinn has been awarded the Bronze Star, the Air Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters.

We welcome the new wing commander to Enid.

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