O’Neil takes command of 434th CS

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Courtney Dotson-Essett
  • 434th ARW Public Affairs
The 434th Communications Squadron welcomed Lt. Col. David O’Neil as its newest commander Oct. 13, in a ceremony marked by time honored tradition and customs.

The squadron’s newest commander comes to Grissom from Scott Air Force Base, where he served as the US Cyber Command Liaison Officer to the US Transportation Command.

“I’m excited to be here, and I’m very thankful for the warm reception I’ve received from the squadron, from the wing and from the staff,” said O’Neil.

O’Neil fills a vacancy that Col. Scott Russell, 434th Mission Support Group Commander, said wasn’t easy to fill. After an extensive search, Russell said he’s confident O’Neil was the right person.

“This is someone who wants to command, someone who wants to take care of people, someone who’s going to look out for our Airmen,” Russell said.

Lt. Col. O’Neil has an extensive background in strategy and operations planning. He’s spent the last 16 years working in joint information operations, specializing in influence operations and cyber warfare.

“Cyber is a growing capability the squadron is new to, and I am so looking forward to helping build that capability,” O’Neil said.

O’Neil holds a Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Communication from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque and was commissioned there in 1996 through the Reserve Officer Training Corps. He has deployed in support of many operations including Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Northern Watch and Operation Southern Watch.

In his new role as commander for the communications squadron, O’Neil will serve as the focal point for communications and cyber activities impacting the 434th Air Refueling Wing.

“We’re very happy to have Lt. Col. O’Neil here as our new squadron commander and he’s a perfect fit for where we’re at and what we need to do,” Russell added.

The 434th ARW is the largest KC-135R Stratotanker unit in the Air Force Reserve Command. The Citizen Airmen from the Hoosier Wing routinely deploy around the world in support of the Air Force mission.

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