Meet the new 341st MXG Commander

  • Published
  • By Airman Cortney Paxton
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
Having been here once before, Col. David Bliesner returned to Malmstrom Air Force Base this past June to serve as the new 341st Maintenance Group commander. His diverse career in the United States Air Force has been focused mainly within the Nuclear Enterprise, giving him a broad perspective of Malmstrom's 'deter and assure' mission.

Bliesner was commissioned in 1989 through the Reserve Officer Training Corps after receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

From there he headed to F. E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., where he served his first tour as a missile combat crew member followed by a missile maintenance officer. His second stop around the nation was Florida where he stepped up considerably as a leader; he served as commander of the Operations Support Flight in Cape Canaveral Air Station, Fla., and then as a Wing Executive Officer at Patrick AFB, Fla.

Following his tours in Florida, the colonel served many tours around the nation, to include two tours at the Pentagon - one on the Joint Staff and one on the Air Staff - various command positions, and also a tour at Air Force Global Strike Command Headquarters in Barksdale AFB, La.

"My position on the Air Staff was certainly an eye-opener for a [company-grade officer]," Bliesner said. "I learned a great deal from it. I had the coolest job in the Air Force when I worked at the [Joint Chief of Staff]; it provided a very broad view of all aspects of the nuclear enterprise across [the Department of Defense]."

Bliesner was stationed at Vandenberg AFB, Calif., as the Commander of the 576th Flight Test Squadron when he received orders back to Malmstrom to serve as the new 341st MXG commander.

"Without any doubt, my favorite assignment is my current assignment," he said. "I love this part of the country and I enjoy the mission and the challenge of command. However, every assignment I've had has contributed to my professional development; I've never had an assignment that turned out to be a negative factor in my career."

With any new position - especially one in command - comes challenges and the ability to set goals and reach them to help improve the mission.

"Our biggest challenge will be effectively and efficiently balancing multiple maintenance priorities during a period of very lean resources," Bliesner said. "I want to foster a culture in the group that takes real, personal pride in being the very best in our business by doing their job the right way every single day. I believe the keys to doing what is right and being the best are found in complete compliance with all directives, effective communication, maximum individual proficiency and a commitment to professionalism as an Airman both on- and off-duty."

The colonel calls his off-duty time "family time" and spends every second he can with his wife, Julie, and three kids; Josh, 23, Caleb, 20, and Hannah, 18. Josh is a mechanic in Cheyenne, Wyo., and Caleb is a student, and AFROTC cadet, at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., so his family time in Montana is usually only spent with his wife and daughter - most of the time outdoors.

"The whole family, to include our kids, were absolutely ecstatic when I got the orders to come back to Malmstrom," he said. "We like to get outdoors and go hiking, kayaking or just spend some time out at the base stables with our horses."

Bliesner described himself as somewhat of a "workaholic." Whether it be fixing something or building something, his off-duty time is usually spent as far away from the couch as possible.

"Julie would tell you I'm probably the happiest when I've got some sort of 'project' going," the colonel said. "If that project is outside I'm twice as happy."

Bliesner spends a lot of his time working - for the Air Force and for his family, but most of all, for his troops; he recognizes and appreciates the work of the Airmen he leads.

"I want every Airman in my group to know that, as an American and as a commander, I genuinely appreciate their hard work," he said. "What we do in the Maintenance Group is absolutely vital to the Wing mission, and our Wing mission is critical to our nation's defense. As lean as the force structure is in today's Air Force, every Airman in the group contributes to mission success - if they didn't their billet would be long gone; they can be very proud of that contribution."