Colonel Leon Dodroe, former commander of the 188th Wing at Fort Smith, was promoted to Brigadier General and took command of the Arkansas Air National Guard. Colonel Jeremiah Gentry was promoted to the rank of commander of the 188th.
Dodroe replaced the brigadier. General Thomas Crimmins who was selected by the US Air Force as senior defense official and defense attaché to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Dodroe enlisted in the United States Army in 1993 and served with the 75th Ranger Regiment at Fort Benning, Georgia. In 1995 he was selected for pilot training and received his commission through the Officer Candidate School. Upon completion of flight training school in 1996, he was posted as a fixed-wing platoon leader for Task Force Southern Europe in Vicenza, Italy. He also served in the Arizona Army National Guard and the United States Army Reserve, holding numerous leadership positions before joining the Arizona Air National Guard in 2010.
Dodroe has been the 188th Commander since 2019. Under his leadership, the Wing received the Meritorious Unit Award and Meritorious Conduct in the performance of outstanding service in direct support of combat operations. He was previously the commander of the 188th Operations Group and made it the most demanded MQ-9 Reaper (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) squadron in theater.
Colonel Gentry is a 21 year combat veteran who served in the Air Force as an F-16 Fighting Falcon and A-10 Thunderbolt II attack pilot before moving on with the 188th Operations Group via MQ-9 conversion.
The Arkansas Air National Guard is made up of 1,900 airmen spread over two wings at Little Rock (Jacksonville Air Force Base) and Fort Smith (Ebbing Air National Guard Base). Little Rock Air Force Base is home to the “HERK”, combining C-130Hs and C-130Js as part of an operations and training center for military transport aircraft.
The three main missions of the 188th are remotely piloted aircraft (MQ-9 Reaper); Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR); and targeting (focused on space). According to the Air Guard, the unit has an annual impact of $ 40 million on the local economy. The unit has approximately 1,000 employees, of which approximately 660 are full-time.
Ebbing was recently selected to be the long-term pilot training center supporting F-16 and F-35 fighter jets purchased by counties participating in the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. It is estimated that 345 U.S. servicemen would be part of the center and around 180 and more members of the Singapore unit and around 300 dependents. Formation and aircraft from Finland and Poland could also be part of the FMS site in the future.