Team Malmstrom welcomes new OG commander

  • Published
  • By Valerie Mullett
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs Office
Col. Mohammed A. "Mo" Khan, Jr. has returned to Malmstrom for his second tour, this time as commander of the 341st Operations Group. The 20-year Air Force veteran is happy to be back in the Northern Tier and happy to be back amongst the "Air Force Warriors."

Colonel Khan started his career at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., back in 1989. That is where he met his wife, Lisa, and they had their two sons, Mohammed III, now a plebe at West Point, and Simeon, 14. In the six and a half years he spent there, he said, "I had 13 duty titles, the last one being the executive officer for now Lt. Gen. Frank Klotz (Commander, Air Force Global Strike Command)."

Colonel Khan's road to the missile career field wasn't exactly a clear path.

"I was attending a small private college and had been slotted into the pilot program. I thought I was going to be a pilot--basically all I wanted to do was fly jets," the father of two said. "But then I got a rude awakening."

Playing football for his school, he was knocked out during a football game.

"Not only did I get knocked out in the game, I got knocked out of the pilot program, as well," he said. "On scholarship with AFROTC, my detachment told me they were considering making me pay back my scholarship tuition...or... I could continue the AFROTC program, be commissioned and become a missileer. I said 'make me a missileer.'"

He said the experience made him realize he was sadly mistaken (about being a pilot) but gladly mistaken at the same time. The most important thing he should have wanted from the very beginning was to be "an officer, first and foremost."

His career took him from Minot AFB, ND., to F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo., then to Fort Leavenworth, KS as a student at the US Army Command & General Staff College, Cape Canaveral and Patrick AFB, Fla., and as the commander of the 564th Missile Squadron here at Malmstrom all prior to attending the Air War College at Maxwell AFB, Ala., from July 2004 to June 2005. Upon graduation, he headed to the Pentagon where he served in five different Air Staff leadership roles until being notified of his assignment as the 341st OG commander here.

"To come back to Malmstrom was such a breath of fresh air," Colonel Khan said. "To get back where the troops are making the Mission happen daily is especially gratifying. You don't see much of anything but colonels, generals and senior civilians working at the Pentagon...all doing great work, but not in the Field where the magic takes place."

He said it is important to have a tour at the Pentagon to be part of the process that plans and provides for those out doing the work, and it also makes you more appreciative of those workers when you get back to them.

"It's my missile combat and helicopter crews, the airmen turning the wrenches, the chefs cooking the meals, facility managers leading at the Missile Alert Facilities, security forces protecting it all, and all of Team Malmstrom warrior heroes that really matter," he said. Taking care of family also matters very much to the colonel.

He learned to hunt and fish from his father-in-law and they remain two of his favorite past times.

But it is family-oriented activities he is most fond of.

"Anything I can do with my family is what I enjoy," Colonel Khan said. "We like to visit museums. We've gone to the free band concerts in Great Falls and take in the Farmer's Market too."

Doing things with his family is also why he is remiss at claiming a favorite assignment during his career.

"They have all been great assignments because at every one of them I have treasured experiences with the troops and the memories of things I have done with my family while stationed there," he said. "As long as my troops are taken care of, their families are taken care of and I get to spend time with my family, I am a happy man."

His philosophy is pretty simple as well.

"I tell everyone to do the very best you can at everything you do...and then strive to get better," he said. "But realize, you are accomplishing the most demanding mission known to mankind - operating, maintaining, securing & supporting the ICBM nuclear mission. It is the most demanding because, as my coin states: 'Perfection is Our Standard.'"

Colonel Khan's goals while he is on station are to be a positive, motivating influence on the mission, our troops and their families of the 341st Missile Wing and do what he can to inspire mentorship and leadership at every level.

"I believe in the concept of "One Team, One Fight. We are all a band of brothers and sisters, regardless of what badge, rank, or unit patch we wear," he said. "And we are all Leaders."