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New KAFB commander pledges to be a good neighbor

Col. David S. Miller salutes during the change of command ceremony at Kirtland Air Force Base on June 21. (Source: Kirtland Air Force Base)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Kirtland Air Force Base installation commander Col. David S. Miller is pledging to be active in the lives of airmen and to be a good neighbor to the community of Albuquerque.

“I’m excited about the opportunity and motivated to work with the airmen on base, and anxious to reach out to more of the population downtown, the local community and figure out how we can contribute to them as much as they contribute to us,” Miller said.

Miller assumed command of the 377th Air Base Wing and installation on June 21. He replaced Col. Richard Gibbs, who is now director of logistics for the Air Force Mobility Command at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois.

Miller came to Kirtland from Malstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls, Montana, where he was commander of the 341st Maintenance Group, managing the largest ICBM fleet and the largest missile complex in the Air Force the past two years.

Miller has had a full plate since taking command. He’s met with airmen from all of the groupings. He’s addressed a convention of Gold Star mothers in Albuquerque. He’s already had a sit-down with U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland, and another one with Bernalillo County Commission Chair Maggie Hart Stebbins is scheduled this week. And there is an upcoming meeting with officials from Sandia National Laboratories – which collaborates with Kirtland on several projects on the base – that will include a tour. He said he’s also meeting with mission partners in the community over the next couple of weeks.

He’s already held discussions about issues that have been in the news concerning the base, such as the jet fuel cleanup and housing issues that have been a problem for many bases around the country.

“I am still looking into those issues,” he said. “We are committed to addressing those challenges.”

Miller feels his experience during his 21-year Air Force career has prepared him for the tasks he now faces at a 52,000-acre base that employs more than 23,000 both civilian and military.

“This is the only air base wing in the Air Force with an operational mission,” Miller said. “It just so happens to be in the munitions-related world, which is my specialty.”

The base is home to the Kirtland Underground Munitions Storage Complex, where it handles nuclear logistics.

Miller said he is still learning the impact of the many other programs on base.

“We’re contributing to obviously nuclear logistics, we’re contributing to alternative power sources, we’re contributing to cyber technologies, contributing to laser technologies, space … it’s a fairly large list and I’m just now beginning to see just how we’re having an impact in all of these areas,” he said.

The part of the job he said he enjoyed most is just being with the airmen, “trying to find ways to make their jobs better and get them the resources they need to make their mission happen,”

“Another part of the job I enjoy is reaching out to the public, and becoming a good team partner with the local governments to see how we can maximize the resources of this base to not only make our mission happen, but to contribute in a positive way to the community,” he said.

Miller is fourth-generation military, with his great-grandfather, grandfather and father serving in either the Navy or the Air Force.

“This is in my blood,” Miller said. “This is what I want to do.”

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