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Former mission support group commander closes out career at alma mater

10th Mission Support Group

Col. David Kinkaid (right), former commander of the 10th Mission Support Group, is presented the Air Force Legion of Merit award by Col. Shawn Campbell, 10th Air Base Wing commander, June 7, 2019. Kincaid was presented the award during the change of command ceremony that day, during which Col. Andre Johnson took command of the 10th MSG at the U.S. Air Force Academy. (U.S. Air Force photo/Trevor Cokley)

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- The Air Force Academy’s former mission support group commander gets to end his military career where it started: at the Academy.

With the successful completion of his command of the 10th MSG, Col. David Kincaid begins what he calls his “sunset tour” -- a move to the headquarters’ information office until he retires early next year.

Of his time as commander, Kincaid said, “It was really neat to [see] how the wheels turn to make the Academy operate and how we prep that battlespace for the cadets.”

Kincaid said his biggest focus at the 10th MSG was addressing the Academy’s aging infrastructure, most of which was built in the late 50s and early 60s. It can be a challenge to juggle those needed improvements with the year-round Academy activities and the hundreds of thousands of visitors. 

“Working here at the Academy really comes down to perspective, prioritization and preparation,” he said. “I kind of visualize [the mission] as streams, waves and spikes.’

To Kincaid, participating in the Academy’s mission of developing leaders of character, its annual institutional events and unexpected emergencies, has taught him a lot about organizational management.

The 10th MSG provides high-quality support to enhance the education and development of more than 4,000 cadets. The group is responsible for civil engineering; morale, welfare and recreation programs; military and civilian personnel; communications and computers; security forces; transportation, supply and contracting support for more than 14,000 military and civilian personnel. The group, a subordinate unit of the 10th Air Base Wing, also preserves and improves a $5.6 billion base infrastructure.

“Dave is an engaging, energizing, and elevating leader. We’ve enjoyed a great number of successes across his command tour because he was not afraid to make decisions, stretch into the future with innovation and insight, and push beyond boundaries,” said Col. Shawn Campbell, 10th Air Base Wing Commander. “It was a pure pleasure to team with him as we set, what I think, are generational frameworks perpetuating the purpose of this installation and securing its future successes.”

Kincaid credits his subordinate officers who command the various squadrons in the group for their drive, innovation, and flexibility in managing the Academy’s unique and demanding day-to-day operations

Looking to the future, he said community partnership remains an important focus for the 10th MSG and the 10th ABW as its staff works with local civic leaders to balance Colorado Springs’ rapid growth while maintaining the necessary land for airmanship programs and cadet training.

“Over the last two years, I believe our relationship with the local community has gotten even better,” he said. “Colonel Campbell has really focused on working with all of our different community partners and maintaining that support for the Academy.” 

Kincaid said the Academy is attuned to the needs of the Air Force and funnels its resources appropriately. For example, he spoke to the recent addition of simulators and the planned airfield improvement projects, which supports leadership development and interest in rated career fields.

“The Academy will continue working to make sure it’s relevant to the Air Force, to the country, and to what’s going on in the world,” he said, “and by extension, the MSG will be there to help realize those goals.”

Col. Andre Johnson took command of the 10th MSG June 7.