Metro-East News

Scott Air Force Base leader to take post with Secretary of the Air Force

Scott Air Force Base is a big part of the metro-east

Scott Air Force Base is the home of U.S. Transportation Command and a major economic driver in the metro-east.
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Scott Air Force Base is the home of U.S. Transportation Command and a major economic driver in the metro-east.

Col. Leslie Maher, 375th Air Mobility Wing and Installation commander, will have a new assignment in March.

Maher — who assumed command of the 375th AMW on Feb. 20, 2018 — has been selected to be the senior military assistant to the Secretary of the Air Force, according to a news release issued by the 375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs. She will commence her new duties in early March, and will work at the Pentagon.

“I absolutely love working in the Pentagon,” said Maher, noting this is her third time working at the Pentagon. “When you’re surrounded by so many people assigned to keeping the security of our nation intact, it’s a pretty cool experience. I’m looking forward to being a part of the strategy aspect of our defense, on the Air Force side and Department of Defense side as a whole.”

Heather Wilson is the Secretary of the Air Force, and Maher will serve as the highest military ranking official in her immediate office. Maher’s duties will include traveling with Wilson and providing advice and guidance to her about specific military issues “and helping round out her opinion on the topic,” Maher said.

While excited about her next venture, Maher will miss SAFB. She particularly appreciates the community support Scott receives.

“I work not only with 3,100 of the best airmen the Air Force has to offer, but I work with a community that absolutely keeps Scott at the forefront of their minds and how they can support us, our airmen and our families,” Maher said. “That community partnership we’ve had has been incredible. They truly understand what is to have an installation in their midst.

“I just want to give a heartfelt thank you to the community on both sides of the river. It will be a heartfelt goodbye when I say goodbye to those airmen.”

Prior to her post as the 375th AMW commander, Maher’s position was as chief, Special Access Programs Division, at Headquarters Air Mobility Command at Scott, according to her Air Force bio.

Also noted in her bio, Maher has participated in numerous operations including Operations Southern Watch, Allied Force, Noble Eagle, Desert Fox, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom and the relief efforts in support of JTF-Matthew. She is a master navigator with more than 1,900 hours in the T-43, T-34C, and the KC-135R/T, her bio also noted.

Col. Joseph Meyer, the wing’s current vice commander, will assume command of the 375th AMW until Col. J. Scot Heathman takes command in late summer, as stated in the news release. The news release noted Heathman is currently serving as the vice commander at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington.

Meyer has served as vice commander since July 2018. According to his Air Force bio, Meyer’s prior position was United States Transportation Command Liaison Officer to United Nations Command/Combined Forces Command/United States Forces Korea, Yongsan, Republic of Korea. Overall, Meyer has held four positions at SAFB.

Additionally, Meyer’s bio notes he has served in numerous supervisory and leadership positions to include: 14th Airlift Squadron commander at Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina.; and twice as the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron commander at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Meyer also has deployed both operationally and on staff in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, as noted in his bio.

Maher cherished her time working with Meyer, and has no doubt he will excel in his new post.

“When I saw his name on the list to be the vice commander and help me lead Scott, I was like ‘Oh my gosh, how did I luck out?’” Maher said. “He has truly met the challenge to lead Scott from Day One. He is the perfect complement to any commander. I know when he takes the reigns the wing won’t even miss a beat. He’s engaged with our community. They already know him; they’re comfortable with how he leads. You won’t even see a blip when we switch the flags. He is the right guy at the right time.”

According to the Scott Air Force Base website, the 375th AMW mission is to provide aeromedical evacuation for patients, and operational support airlift for high priority passengers and cargo, and installation support to 31 mission partners including United States Transportation Command, Air Mobility Command, and the 18th Air Force, totaling almost 13,000 active-duty, Guard, Reserve, Department of Defense civilians and contract personnel.

The wing operates 12 C-21 aircraft, and is an associate partner for C-40 airlift missions with the Reserve’s 932d Airlift Wing, and KC-135 refueling missions with the Illinois Air National Guard’s 126th Air Refueling Wing, according to Scott’s website.