Scott Air Force Base | St. Louis Public Radio

Scott Air Force Base

Col. John Howard
375th Air Mobility Command

Updated 12-13-17 with new information

A commander at Scott Air Force Base is under investigation for alleged sexual misconduct.

Colonel John Howard was relieved of duty as commander of the 375th Air Mobility Wing on Monday.

The 18th Air Force Public Affairs office said Wednesday that the investigation is being led by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations and that no more details would be released during the process.

Original Story published 12-12-17

Col. John Howard, the new commander of the 375th Air Mobility Wing and his wife, Dana, a retired Air Force colonel. (October 2017)
Provided | Erica Fowler | 375th Air Mobility Wing

Two things strike you when you meet Col. John Howard.

He’s very tall: 6’4.” Yet despite his height and the uniform, he comes across as very down-to-earth.

Howard is the new commander of the 375th Air Mobility Wing at Scott Air Force Base. He oversees about 3,000 personnel who provide airlift for senior leaders, aeromedical evacuations and air refueling. The wing also operates Scott Air Force, making Howard akin to a mayor.

has eight KC-135 Stratotankers. The planes can carry 33,000 gallons of fuel. June 2017
Maria Altman, | St. Louis Public Radio

The steel gray KC-135 Stratotankers are massive.

The Boeing jets, first deployed way back in 1956, can carry up to 83,000 pounds of cargo with the thrust of four turbofan engines.

The plane is also capable of carrying 33,000 gallons of fuel and off-loading it in mid-air.

That’s the primary mission of the Illinois Air National Guard’s 126th Air Refueling Wing, assigned to Scott Air Force Base, near Belleville.

Courtesy of Scott Air Force Base

Back in 1917, it was known as Scott Field.

The U.S. had just entered World War I, and the War Department leased 624 acres near Belleville, Illinois, to help train pilots to send to Europe. The field was named after Cpl. Frank Scott, the first enlisted service member to be killed in an aviation crash. 

Today, Scott Air Force Base covers more than 3,500 acres and employs 13,000 military and civilian service members. It’s also home to more than 30 mission partners, including the U.S. Transportation Command, Air Mobility Command and the 18th Air Force.

The  $100 million complex has about 1,000 employees responsible for keeping the U.S. Department of Defense's computer network safe.
Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio

There's a new, $100 million dollar building at Scott Air Force Base that is keeping the U.S. Department of Defense's computer network out of trouble.

Military and political dignitaries gathered on Thursday for a ribbon-cutting ceremony in front of the 164,000- square-foot complex that houses the Defense Information Systems Agency's Global Operations Command. It’s the largest cyber operations center in the United States.

(Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio)

Cyber security has become a major initiative of the Pentagon.

As part of that initiative, Scott Air Force Base has a new cyberspace operations group that will eventually include 300 new jobs. The 688th Cyberspace Wing activated the group on Tuesday.

Colonel Roger Vrooman also became the new commander of the group during Tuesday's activation ceremony. He later told members of the media that he worries about cyber attacks that aren’t detected.

Aegis Strategies logo
Wayne Pratt|St. Louis Public Radio

A new partnership in the Metro East is designed to train more workers for cybersecurity careers. Organizers are hoping it will boost the area’s chances of landing the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, which will be moving from south St. Louis.

The Midwest Cyber Center of Excellence is based just outside Scott Air Force Base. It's goal is to help to train workers in all sectors to better protect an employer's online network.

Gen. Darren W. McDew joined "St. Louis on the Air" to discuss his new position as head of U.S. Transportation Command at Scott Air Force Base.
Aine O'Connor | St. Louis Public Radio

General Darren McDew assumed command of U.S. Transportation Command, known as USTRANSCOM, at Scott Air Force Base on August 26 at a potentially critical time for U.S. security.

Gens. Selva, McDew win Senate confirmation

Jul 27, 2015
Gen. Paul Selva, left, and Gen. Darren McDew
Air Force photographs

The U.S. Senate Monday confirmed Gen. Paul Selva to be vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Selva has been the commander of the U.S. Transportation Command at Scott Air Force Base since April 2014. Senators also confirmed Gen Darren McDew to replace Selva as the next commander of the U.S. Transportation Command.

Gen. Paul Selva, left, and Gen. Darren McDew
Air Force photographs

Russia, China, Iran, North Korea and all of the groups that follow the ideology of Al Qaeda from 2001 to the present are threats Air Force Gen. Paul Selva sees facing the United States -- and in that order. He also says the automatic budget cuts known as sequestration present “a direct threat to the morale of our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines, who deserve the best maintained and the best equipment available to fight the threats that face this nation.”

An airman at Scott Air Force Base and his working dog pay their final respects to Breston, a military working dog who was put down in June after contracting a blood infection and being diagnosed with cancer.
(Courtesy: U.S. Air Force)

“It was to say our final goodbyes. It was very important to honor Breston,” said Staff Sgt. David Yaronczyk about a memorial service for his colleague, who served in the U.S. military for more than eight years. 

    

Breston worked in Afghanistan as part of a drug detection effort for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and then for several years in security at Scott Air Force Base near Belleville, Ill.

Breston was a military working dog, a 9-year-old Belgian Malinois.

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin says St. Clair County's proposal for the NGA's relocation to Scott Air Force Base is better than those for three Missouri sites.
Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) said Monday he believes it would make “good sense” to locate the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency at Scott Air Force Base due to both sites’ work on cyber-security.

St. Clair County officials are hoping to lure the NGA to a 200-acre site on the base when the agency relocates from its current location in downtown St. Louis. The base is the only Illinois location being considered for the agency’s new facility alongside three other Missouri sites, including St. Louis’ north side.

ebola, Scott Air Force Base
Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio / ebola, Scott Air Force Base

As the Ebola epidemic grabbed the world’s attention last year, the U.S. military began to discuss how it could safely transport military personnel if they were infected with the contagious disease.

The answer was unveiled at Scott Air Force Base on Friday.

The Transport Isolation System was designed by Production Products, Inc., a St. Louis-based, minority-owned company. The co-founder and president, Barry Corona, said they started on the project in late October after winning the $6 million contract with the Department of Defense for 25 units.

Southwest Illinois Toy Drive Benefits Military Families

Dec 14, 2014
Angela Mayfield picks out toys for her three children at the Belleville VFW on Sunday, December 14, 2014.
Camille Phillips/St. Louis Public Radio

Military parents in southwest Illinois and the surrounding area were given some help putting gifts under the Christmas tree Sunday.

About 400 toys, plus stocking stuffers and school supplies were distributed to military families at the Belleville VFW hall, just outside Scott Air Force Base.

Parents were able to select one large toy for each of their children from a variety of items donated by individuals and corporations.

Illinois Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon talked to reporters Thursday in Belleville about the impact of military spending throughout the state.
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

A new report shows that Illinois’ military and defense industry contributes roughly $13.3 billion to the state’s economy – a figure that officials say could serve as a deterrent against federal cutbacks. 

Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon and the Illinois Chamber of Commerce Foundation helped produced the study, which looks at the statewide impact of military installations, Department of Defense contracts and National Guard facilities.

(Read the report here.)

Natl GEOINT Agency

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The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency has released the location of six sites under consideration for its new facility in the St. Louis region. 

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio

Two Change of Command ceremonies commemorated new leadership at Scott Air Force Base on Monday.

Gen. Paul Selva now leads U.S. Transportation Command at Scott after Gen. William Fraser’s retirement. Gen. Darren McDew replaces Selva as head of Air Mobility Command.

Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio

The Air Force's top civilian official spent Tuesday morning at Scott Air Force Base with Illinois' political leaders. 

U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk were among the officials who showed Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James around the Metro East military installation. It was the first time James visited the base since being confirmed by the U.S. Senate late last year. Illinois Lt. Gov. Shelia Simon, St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern and Madison County Board Chairman Alan Dunstan were also on hand for James' visit.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

With big defense cuts on the horizon, Illinois’ federal and state leaders are putting up a united front to protect Scott Air Force Base. 

Both U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk were part of a federal and state delegation meeting with U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Mark Welsh. Their meeting at Scott Air Force Base comes as Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel asked Congress to re-start a base closing commission – or BRAC.

Columnist, Military Wife Hopes Her New Book Gives Civilians Insight On Military Life

Mar 6, 2014
Courtesy of Terri Barnes

Author and columnist Terri Barnes now calls O’Fallon, Ill. home. But that is a recent designation determined by her husband’s transfer to Scott Air Force Base last August. First the daughter and now the wife of a career military man, she estimates O’Fallon is her family's seventeenth hometown.

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