Vice Wing Commander and family settling in to life at Malmstrom

  • Published
  • By Valerie Mullett
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs Office
Fifteen assignments following his first days on alert as a missileer, Col. Stephen "S.L." Davis has landed at Malmstrom to help guide the members of the 341st Missile Wing as their vice commander.

With his primary goal targeted on doing everything he can "to assist Col. (Anthony) Cotton as he leads the wing in its critical mission of nuclear deterrence," Colonel Davis shares other similarities with his new boss.

Both were born and raised in Air Force families and both were stationed in North Dakota for their first assignments. From there, their careers have taken different paths that have returned them to common ground in leadership roles here.

Colonel Davis was born at Stead Air Force Base near Reno Nevada, which is no longer a military installation but currently serves as the Reno Airport. From there, his family moved to Hawaii before settling in at Wright Patterson AFB, near Dayton, Ohio, a few years later.

"I spent the longest amount of time there as a child, so I consider Dayton home," the new vice commander said. "I attended grade school there and graduated from high school in Ohio."

He also went to college in Dayton attending Wright State University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics in 1989. Knowing he had his sights set on joining the Air Force, Colonel Davis was commissioned through the Air Force Officer's Training School, also in 1989.

"Growing up in an Air Force family, I was naturally attracted to the idea of serving," the vice commander said. "And when I joined, I actually had the expectation I would make a career of it, even though I have always taken it one assignment at a time."

That career, which spans nearly 20 years, has taken him to Vandenberg AFB, Calif., on three occasions. He has served in two positions at Air Force Space Command at Peterson AFB, Colo.; Headquarters Air Force in Washington, D.C.; as well as two positions at USSTRATCOM in Omaha, Neb. He also had a short tour to Schriever Air Force Base, Colo. , and attended the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and the School of Advanced Airpower Studies at Maxwell AFB, Ala. Throw into the mix a 6-month deployment to Baghdad in 2004 and you have a career snapshot of Colonel Davis.

"I would have to say my assignment as commander of the 576th Flight Test Squadron at Vandenberg has best prepared me for the role as vice wing commander," he said. "That squadron is unique in that operators, maintainers, munitions and support are all intertwined to accomplish the mission. We also relied heavily on interaction with the host base mission support . EOD, fire, LRS and CE were all integral to the ICMB test mission."

While commander of the 576th, Colonel Davis said the experience broadened his horizons in terms of the ICBM mission.

But it was his deployment that broadened his horizons in terms of taking care of Airmen and their families.

He said it gave him an appreciation for the importance of the pre-deployment training and how vital it is to ensure Airmen are prepared properly. He also said it gave him an understanding of how important it is to send the Airmen forward with the right equipment; and it pointed out the importance of the families that are left behind and the need to take care of them at all levels of leadership.

"That experience sensitized me to those important issues," he said. "The job (deploying) is hard enough. We need to be setting our Airmen up for success. That is something I will look for and pay attention to."

Secondary to the goal of supporting the wing commander, Colonel Davis hopes to get out and see the workforce - Airmen, civilians and contractors - of Wing One as much as he can.

"A few things that strike me about Malmstrom are the great condition of the base and the great spirit of the people who work here," Colonel Davis said. "I know it's a tough environment and I know it's a tough mission. There have certainly been a number of recent inspections but I am really impressed with the attitudes of the wing. It's great to be here."

Colonel Davis arrived at Malmstrom July 4. He is accompanied by his wife, Nancy, and their six children, Monica, 18; Elena, 16; Nicholas, 14; Anna, 7; Gianna, 3; and Michael, 18 months.