Meet your leadership: 39th MXS Commander: Lt. Col. David Holz

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Nicole Sikorski
  • 39 Air Base WIng Public Affairs
The 39th Air Base Wing units are led by hand-picked commanders here and at geographically-separated groups and squadrons across the region. This series of features gives an inside look at those leaders and their leadership style. This feature highlights the 39th Maintenance Squadron Commander Lt. Col. David Holz.

Question: Why did you decide to join the Air Force and why do you continue to serve?

Answer: When I was in high school, it was just a feeling that it was something I had to do. I acted on that feeling when I enrolled in Air Force ROTC in college and I haven't lost that feeling in the 23 years since then.

Q: What is one of your proudest achievements in your military career?

A:  While working at the Pentagon in 2009, Secretary Robert Gates (then secretary of defense) held a news conference announcing a major budget overhaul. He cancelled a $20 billion satellite communications system based on the analysis that I led.

Q: Is there a leader from your career that influenced you the most? If so, who, and how did they affect the way you lead?

A:  My first operations officer, Lt. Col. Richard Mihalik, taught me the importance of red lines. On my very first day, he told me that following technical data was solely my responsibility and that I would bear the full consequences of not following it. I've never forgotten that and have the same standard within the 39th Maintenance Squadron. He was also very good at taking care of his people when they performed well.

Q: Leaders often face a significant challenge or watershed moment early on in their careers that influence their formation as leaders. Did you have any moments like these that helped shape you into the leader you are today?

A:  One time I asked the deputy director for plans and programs at Headquarters Air Force Space Command (AFSPC), Col. Paul Burnett, for feedback on my career because I didn't know what or where to go with my future.  He took the time to give me feedback and help me map out a plan for the remainder of my time at AFSPC and beyond. He moved me into a new job allowing me to work on much larger projects that challenged me.  If he hadn't taken the time to help me lay out a plan for my future and see my potential then I would not have attended professional military eduction in-residence and likely would not be a squadron commander now. I learned that taking the time to mentor your subordinates can have profound impacts on their future.

Q: What is your personal mission statement?

A:  Keep moving forward. Learn from the past, but don't dwell on it.

Q: What values and ethics are the most important you, and what do you expect from your Airmen?

A:  I believe everything begins with integrity.  Doing the right thing when no one is around or looking.

Q: What is your strategic vision for your organization?

A:  One team pursuing mission excellence--wherever, whenever.

Q: What are your leadership goals as a commander while here at Incirlik?

A:  To leave the 39th Maintenance Squadron better than I found it.

Q: What are some of your expectations for the Airmen you lead, and why?

A:  Do the job right the first time and do what you need to do today instead of putting it off until tomorrow.  Mission excellence means doing your job to the best of your ability and doing it completely.  It doesn't mean you have to be perfect, but you have to do it well enough so it's done correctly.

Q: What are your mission expectations from the unit you lead?

A: Conducting the mission safely, securely, and effectively; supporting Incirlik's flight line and munitions storage area and preparing the 39th Maintenance Squadron to bed down forces at a moment's notice.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?

A:  Being a squadron commander has truly been an eye opening experience. I have learned so much over the last 15 months, especially the value of enforcing standards and strong senior NCO and NCO leadership.