Col. Michael R. Drowley

By David Pittman –

Davis-Monthan Welcomes New Commander

Col. Michael R. Drowley is the new commander of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. 

Drowley, who served the past year as chief of staff at the headquarters of the United States Air Forces Central Command at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, also now commands the 355th Fighter Wing, which is the host unit at D-M responsible for training A-10 pilots.

Drowley succeeds Col. Scott C. Campbell, who was commander of Davis-Monthan and the 355th Fighter Wing for the past two years. The June 29 ceremony inside a base hangar was attended by hundreds of D-M service men and women, and a contingent of dignitaries, elected officials and business groups that support the base and its airmen.

During the change-of-command event, which celebrated long-standing military tradition, the organizational flag of the 355th Fighter Wing was passed from Campbell to Drowley. In his remarks, Drowley said Campbell “leaves 16-sized boots in his wake that are impossible to fill and a bar that is unachievable.”

Drowley’s comments weren’t all that hyperbolic. Campbell received the Air Force’s prestigious Legion of Merit Award at the ceremony for his exemplary performance commanding D-M and the 355th Wing. In responding to a severe Air Force pilot shortage, under Campbell D-M trained and graduated more than 175 pilots and led the mobilization of a 12-jet squadron of A-10s that delivered 1,335 strikes in “the historic assault on Mosul, Iraq” that obliterated an Islamic State stronghold, according to a citation accompanying the award.

“Col. Campbell’s leadership drove the (355th Fighter) Wing to excellence, as evidenced by its winning more than 80 industry, Numbered Air Force, Major Command and Air Force-level awards during his tenure, culminating in D-M winning the 2018 Commander-in-Chief’s Installation Excellence Award,” the citation concluded.

It is the second time in six years D-M has received the award as the best base in the U.S. Air Force. 

Campbell and his wife, Col. Kim Campbell, who formerly served as commander of the 612th Theater Operations Group and the 474th Air Expedition Group at D-M, are now serving at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., as vice commandant of cadets and as a faculty member teaching military strategic studies, respectively.

Drowley, like the Campbells, is a highly decorated officer and experienced pilot. He has more than 2,200 hours flying in the A-10, including more than 200 hours in combat. He formerly served as the commandant of the U.S. Air Force Weapons School at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, and on the staffs of the Air Force Academy and the U.S. Secretary of Defense.

Campbell had high praise for his successor. “I have known Col. Drowley for 20 years now and I can tell you he’s an exceptional leader,” he said. “There is no one better equipped to lead the 355th Fighter Wing and Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.”      

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