YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Youngstown Air Reserve Station held a sort of homecoming Sunday when the base welcomed a new wing commander.
Colonel Jeff Van Dootingh spent 17 years in the early part of his military career at the Youngstown base.
He says he’s glad to be back and has big improvements in mind.
One of his main objectives is to modernize the front gate to make it safer for soldiers.
“Our new main gate is going to have a built-in commercial truck inspection point. That is really important because we can make sure that any truck coming on the base isn’t somehow going to be a danger to the base and our airmen. It also gets the airmen off the roads. On your training weekends, you can get a pretty long line waiting to get on the base. Airmen are kind of a sitting duck at that point,” said Colonel Dootingh.
Colonel Dootingh grew up in Sandusky and says he actually requested to come back to Youngstown and the Buckeye State several years ago. He wasn’t sure it was ever going to happen.
Then, he got a phone call offering him the job.