New mission support group commander brings vast experience
By Capt. Rebecca Cruz, 161st Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
/ Published December 10, 2015
PHOENIX -- Colonel David J. Ciesielski assumed command of the 161st Mission Support Group at Sky Harbor Air National Guard Base, Dec. 6, during the December unit training assembly.
Ciesielski, who was promoted to colonel before the change of command ceremony, previously served as the 161st Force Support Squadron commander. The incoming commander brings 19 years of experience in the U.S. Air Force with more than eight of those in the Air National Guard, including assignments at the National Guard Bureau as well as the 161st Air Refueling Wing.
Ciesielski replaces Col. Kyle T. Kobashigawa, who will retire after 30 years of service, including seven and a half years as the mission support group commander.
"I am honored for the opportunity to represent the men and women of our distinguished mission support group at the 161st Air Refueling Wing," said Ciesielski "I hope to add to Colonel Kobashigawa's legacy as we continue to support the men and women of the best tanker unit in the world."
"There is no better job than being a Citizen Airman in the great state of Arizona," he continued, "I love my family. I love my friends. I love Phoenix. I love the military. For me, being a Copperhead is a grand slam."
Ciesielski entered the Air Force in 1996 as a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy. While serving in the regular Air Force, he was a manpower and personnel officer at major command and headquarters Air Force levels. In 2006, Ciesielski deployed to the U.S. Central Command and led the coalition reception center to support personnel that represented 65 countries. He transferred to the Air National Guard in 2007 as a manpower, personnel and services officer assigned to the National Guard Bureau in Washington, D.C. and soon progressed to the U.S. Senate serving as a defense legislative fellow.
Ciesielski is a career force support officer with experience at the squadron, group, wing, headquarters and Congressional levels. He served in a variety of jobs from executive officer to a resource programmer.
He said he's worked with great mentors his entire career.
Ciesielski had three words that he wanted to emphasize to his new Airmen, "grace, gratitude, and greatness." He said that because of grace he has been fortunate to have the opportunities so far and how he never imagined he would be standing where he is now. He was grateful to be an American and to be able to work with a military family bonded by a common set of universal values that "challenge injustice, defend human liberty, and support freedom of choice." Finally, he challenged every Airmen to be great - to think about how they can be great for someone else. "That is what it is all about, helping your fellow Airmen; being great for the wingman next to you," he said. "Because our military family deserves it."
As the mission support group commander, Ciesielski leads 345 Airmen who specialize in force support, civil engineering, security forces, logistics readiness, communications, environmental management, contracting, and student flight.
"The value of a single person cannot be overstated," he said. "We compound that value when we work together effectively as a team. I want to support our personnel to the fullest extent. I believe my previous military experiences will help do that."