910th Welcomes Back Van Dootingh as Commander

VIENNA, Ohio — On Sunday, Col. Jeff Van Dootingh was welcomed back to the Youngstown Air Reserve Station as commander of the 910th Airlift Wing and installation commander of YARS.

Nearly 17 years of Van Dootingh’s 36-year Air Force career were spent at YARS, where he initially served as the 757th Airlift Squadron C-130H Standardization/Evaluation Navigator. From February 2000 to February 2005, he served as the 910th Operations Group Chief of Current Operations, and from February 2005 to January 2008, he served as the 910th Operations Group Deputy Commander.

Since June 2019, his most recent assignment before returning to YARS was as the 403rd Wing Commander at Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi, which included commanding the Hurricane Hunters, the only weather reconnaissance mission of the U.S. Department of Defense.

Other recent assignments include serving from June 2013 to August 2014 as the Air Force Reserve Command Headquarters Chief of Programs at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. From August 2014 to February 2018, he served as the 911th Airlift Wing Commander at Pittsburgh International Airport Air Reserve Station, Pennsylvania, and from February 2018 to June 2019 he served as the 22nd Air Force Director of Staff at Dobbins ARB, Georgia.

Van Dootingh graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1985. A 1986 Distinguished Graduate of Undergraduate Navigator Training at Mather Air Force Base, California, he served more than six years on active duty as an instructor navigator and flight safety officer before joining the Air Force Reserve in 1991.

As a Traditional Reservist, he served as a standardization/evaluation navigator while working as a chemist until 1995 when he became a dual-status Air Reserve Technician. Since that time, he has held a number of diverse positions such as chief of current operations, flying squadron director of operations, numbered Air Force director of staff, operations group commander, wing commander and headquarters division chief.

As a master navigator with over 7,500 flying hours, Van Dootingh has amassed more than 420 combat flying hours in Panama, Southwest Asia and the Balkans, including the first C-130 mission into northern Iraq at the onset of Operation Iraqi Freedom. As deputy group commander of the Department of Defense’s only fixed-wing aerial spray unit, he flew numerous aerial spray missions to provide relief from insect-borne diseases in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, eventually spraying a record three million acres and earning him the highest award given by the Centers for Disease Control.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.