153rd Airlift Wing adds leadership team with long-time legacy

2nd Lt. Eve Neisen, Public Affairs Specialist, 153rd Airlift Wing

Both Col. Paul Lyman and David Herder commissioned over 20 years ago through Reserve Officer Training Corps programs and became navigators on the C-130 aircraft piloted by the Wyoming Air National Guard. Today, they have combined over 7,300 flying hours and 40 years of military service, most with the Wyoming Air National Guard.

Now they are the 153rd Airlift Wing’s newest leadership duo and their vision for the future is a true reflection of their past.

Not long ago, as the entire Air Force adopted a “total force” concept, Lyman helped evolve the Wyoming Air National Guard for the future. As the 187th Airlift Squadron commander, he was responsible for seamlessly integrating active duty operations with his Guard squadron.

“Different people handle change differently,” said Lyman. “Merging two different cultures was very challenging.” Like a true professional, he merged the active duty Air Force’s 30th Airlift Squadron with the 187th Airlift Squadron, prepared airmen to deploy overseas and employed the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting Systems for stateside missions.

Herder’s recent experience has also prepared him for his role as vice wing commander. Prior to being the base inspector general, Herder served seven years as the deputy commander at the Wyoming Army National Guard’s Camp Guernsey Joint Training Center, a first for an Air Force officer. Like Lyman, his job was to combine two different services, which he did well according to Army officials.

Herder experienced another big change when he transitioned from active duty Air Force and joined the Wyoming Air National Guard. He recalls his first drill weekend as being, “strange.”
The dynamic between enlisted and officer was quite different.

“Two totally different cultures,” Herder said. “Active duty is very structured, very rigid, very rank oriented. Coming into the guard world, it’s more of a family.”
As Herder approaches 23 years in the guard, he and Lyman are using lessons learned to shape and prepare the airmen of the 153rd Airlift Wing into 2016 and beyond.

“Our mission is too important for the citizens of this great nation, we cannot fail,” said Lyman as he gave his first speech as wing commander during a change of command ceremony in February. “We must remain proven in combat and trusted at home,” said Lyman. He presented four priorities his leadership team will set forth. First is operational readiness, followed by manning.

“All of us must continue to shape our working environment, making sure the 153rd is the team everyone wants to join,” Lyman explained.

The third priority will have a focus on airmen.

“Creating an environment where airmen can thrive is awesome,” Lyman said. “In that statement, there’s a lot that goes into it. That’s one thing we’ve got to look at.”
Lastly, Lyman intends to enforce a culture of compliance.

“We’ve always had successful results [with the commander’s inspection program], but with diminishing resources and increased demand, there’s simply no room for waste,” Lyman said.

There is something to be said for a leadership team with deep roots in the Wyoming community. The connection between their past experiences and vision of the future is important to them and to the Wyoming Air Guard.

“No doubt about it, we will be successful and our legacy of greatness will continue,” Lyman said. “After all, it’s the cowboy way.”

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