New commander takes charge of DLA Aviation at Ogden

  • Published
  • By Stephen J. Baker, DLA Aviation Public Affairs
  • Defense Logistics Agency Aviation

The Defense Logistics Agency Aviation at Ogden team welcomed their new commander during a change of command ceremony June 13 at Hill Air Force Base, Utah.

Air Force Brig. Gen. Sean Tyler, DLA Aviation commander, officiated a one-hour ceremony at The Landing base club where roughly 200 attendees watched Air Force Col. Kazimir “Kaz” Kostrubala take charge of the DLA Aviation industrial support activity from Air Force Col. Ernest “Nest” Cage.

Cage commanded DLA Aviation at Ogden for slightly less than one year. According to Tyler, the relatively short stint was merely an indicator of Cage’s success as an Air Force leader.

“Normally, we ask our commanders to lead for two years,” Tyler explained. “However, when you are lucky enough to secure exceptional talent, it is hard to keep – as is the case with Nest – a highly sought-after logistics and, now, aircraft maintenance officer who has served successfully at the most senior levels of our military.”

Tyler said that shortly after assuming command of the Ogden activity in 2023, Cage was selected by the Air Force to lead its only Mission Generation Group, which is his next assignment at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware – as Tyler described it, the “busiest strategic airlift base on the east coast.”

“Judging from his record of excellence and sustained performance while here,” Tyler said, “I have no doubt he’ll succeed as he leads and cares for the 2,100 aircraft maintainers, aerial port and logistics readiness airmen, and families of the MGG in their mission generating C-17s and C-5s, which support critical operations globally.”

Tyler presented Cage with the Defense Meritorious Service Medal after his remarks. The accompanying citation lauded the outgoing commander for leading more than 1,000 personnel across four time zones to logistically support the Air Force’s primary fighter aircraft and ICBM depot. Among other accomplishments, Cage was commended for stewarding DLA Aviation’s only overseas detachment – established in February 2023 alongside supported customers in Okinawa at Support Center Pacific, Kadena Air Base, Japan – which Tyler deemed “key to regional military operations and deterrence.”

The new medal freshly pinned on his service dress uniform, Cage took the microphone to deliver his farewell remarks, starting by thanking numerous attendees for both their presence at the ceremony and their partnership and support during his time at Hill.

Starting with Air Force Maj. Gen. Kenyon Bell, commander of the Ogden Air Logistics Complex that the DLA Aviation team at Hill directly supports, Cage put the spotlight on more than a dozen individuals – from senior uniformed leaders to other DLA leaders and some of the activity’s newer civilian employees – praising their work, dedication and  mutual support.

“To serve here as we provide consumable supply chain support for critical parts – putting those parts in the hands of ALC maintainers who deliver the critical aircraft, missiles and components that power the world’s most formidable Air Force – it has been a privilege to support this team, as you have enabled DLA to deliver in a big way,” Cage said.

“It’s said the sun never sets on DLA Aviation at Ogden,” Cage said. “That's true. And we're everywhere that the ALC is – from Japan to Davis-Monthan (Air Force Base), to Randolph (Air Force Base), to right here at Hill Air Force Base. DLA does amazing things.”

After his remarks, a ceremonial passing of the guidon signaled the official transfer of command from Cage to Kostrubala, who most recently served as the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command lead of the Joint Task Force Red Hill Joint Planning Group at Camp Smith, Hawaii.

In his remarks, Tyler highlighted Kostrubala’s service as a decorated combat veteran with more than 20 months of deployed time, noting that he is a “scholar” with three master’s degrees and an impressive history of assignments.

“He’s supported counter-narcotics and humanitarian operations in Central America, commanded at the squadron level twice, and spent a year learning from industry as a fellow at the Federal Express Corporation Headquarters in Memphis, Tennessee,” Tyler said before pivoting to point out Kostrubala’s recent “key role” in the Joint Task Force Red Hill efforts. “The monumental clean up and closure of the Navy’s Red Hill Fuel Storage facility in Hawaii still has national attention.”

“In short, Kaz has no fear of big challenges and I’m confident he has the experience and pedigree to continue the great work of this unit,” Tyler concluded.

For his part, Kostrubala’s remarks began with gratitude and praise for his predecessor.

“Right off the bat, thank you to Nest and his family,” Kostrubala said. “You guys very clearly left an indelible mark on the team here. And I can tell that you've built incredible relationships – relationships, which are much more valuable than the numbers that we produce to the customer; that lasts a lifetime.”

Kostrubala also addressed the importance of the activity’s mission in respect to “great power competition” in the Pacific theater.

“In this new era, the Air Force, along with a lot of our sister services, are developing new warfighting strategy that hinge on logistics, logistics that's supported by every single person – in some way, fashion or form – in this room,” he said. “Logistics which – if deterrence fails – equips our forces, fuels our movements and sustains our fight.

“I'm committed to DLA’s mission supporting the logistics backbone of this base and of national defense,” Kostrubala continued. “My family and I are truly honored to be a part of your team and your family.”