By Airman 1st Class Christina Bennett, 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
/ Published June 11, 2019
Col. David A. Doss, the 28th Bomb Wing commander, speaks with local media reporters after his change of command ceremony on Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., May 30, 2019. As commander, he is responsible for the largest B-1 combat wing in the U.S. Air Force, with a fleet of 27 B-1B Lancers and more than 3,800 Airmen and civilians. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christina Bennett)
Col. David A. Doss, assumed command of the 28th Bomb Wing at a change of command ceremony on May 30. He now oversees the largest B-1 combat wing in the U.S. Air Force, with a fleet of 27 B-1B Lancers and more than 3,800 Airmen and civilians.
Doss arrived at Ellsworth Air Force Base accompanied by his wife, Marlina and two teenaged sons, Chase and Austin.
Doss was previously stationed at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, where he served as vice commander of the 7th Bomb Wing. He has filled multiple roles throughout his Air Force career, including that of a B-1 weapons officer and instructor, with the 37th Bomb Squadron here at Ellsworth AFB.
People likely know about Doss’ impressive military career but we wanted to introduce him on a personal level. He was kind enough to sit down with us to answer some questions.
Please note that questions and answers were edited for length.
Q: Where are you originally from?
A: I lived in Appomattox, Va., until I was about 9 or 10. It’s a small town in Virginia, near the Blue Ridge Mountains. My mom and dad divorced when I was young, eventually my mom remarried and we moved to Lynchburg, Va. That’s where I call home.
Q: How long have you served in the Air Force? What inspired you to join?
A: I’m coming up on 24 years this month. I always wanted to fly – so I thought the Air Force was the best opportunity for me to do that. It’s something I have wanted to do since I was about 12 years old.
Q: Did you choose the B-1?
A: I was at Pensacola, going through undergraduate navigator training, and for a long time I wanted to [fly] fighters. As I went through, I liked the teamwork that a crew had and the interaction between the different crew members. So I changed my number one choice from a fighter to the B-1. I was lucky enough to receive that slot and I’ve been flying that aircraft ever since.
Q: What is your favorite feature of the B-1?
A: I love the fact that an aircraft that size can go as fast as it can. The range to go further than a lot of other platforms and the payload. Those are really the most versatile features of the aircraft – speed, range and payload.
Q: What has been your most rewarding experience while in the Air Force?
A: I really enjoy meeting new people. I enjoy talking to them, learning about their experiences, learning from them and getting to know folks from all over. Making new friends and interacting with them – that’s what I’ve enjoyed the most about the Air Force.
Q: How did you feel when you found out that you would be returning to Ellsworth as the new commander?
A: We were very excited – my wife and I were here before. It’s a chance to come back and see how things have changed, reconnect with [people] downtown and make new friends. It was our best tour by far – that’s no disrespect to any of the other places we have went. It was my first operational tour on the B-1 and I think that it has a special place in my heart.
Q: What are your top three priorities as commander of the 28th Bomb Wing?
A: The top three priorities for me and not in any particular order – mission, vision and people.
Under the mission standpoint – warfighting readiness tonight. We’re always going to have some kind of limitation or challenge to overcome, but our nation depends on us. When our nation calls we’ll be there.
Vision – innovating, we hear that a lot. Collaborating. We have to know our jobs, learn them to the best of our ability. Then we have to reach out and learn how other people do those jobs, have lessons and share ideas.
I know the B-21 is coming – we have to prepare for that. We also have to be ready with what we have tonight.
People – we don’t have mission without [people]. We have to make sure they have a quality of life and quality of service that makes them excited to come to work every day. We need to take care of their families and have them be involved. If we’re not taking care of people then they can’t be focused on the mission, and that’s very important to me.
Q: What is your biggest piece of advice for new Airmen just starting out in their careers?
A: The biggest piece of advice that I have for Airmen just starting out is, to know your job. That’s probably the most important thing.
The next thing is to lead. Folks think that leadership is based on the rank that they wear on their shoulders or on their collars – it’s not. Lead yourself, lead your friends and your peers.
Never miss an opportunity. Get out there – the time you spend in the military will be that much richer if you are able to get out and experience things. Be a part of the community both on base and off base.