Former wing commander assumes state's top Air Guard leadership post

Story by: Tech Sgt. Jason Melton
Posted: 12/2/2017
Former 155th Air Refueling commander, James "Bob" Stevenson was promoted to the rank of brigadier general, Dec. 2, during a ceremony where many family members, including his daughters, helped promote and congratulate him.(Nebraska National Guard photo by Lt. Col. Kevin Hynes)

Nebraska Air National Guard Col. James “Bob” Stevenson Jr. was promoted to the rank of brigadier general and assumed the position of assistant adjutant general of the Nebraska Air National Guard during a promotion and change of command ceremony conducted Dec. 2 at the Nebraska National Guard Joint Force Headquarters in Lincoln.

As the assistant adjutant general for air, Stevenson will now be responsible for the organization, training and equipage of the Nebraska Air National Guard, which includes the 155th Air Refueling Wing in Lincoln and the 170th Group at Offutt Air Force Base.

Prior to his current position, Stevenson served as Nebraska Air National Guard director of operations within the Nebraska National Guard’s Joint Force Headquarters. Prior to that, he served as the commander of the 155th Air Refueling Wing – the second oldest Air National Guard unit in the nation – and commander of the 170th Group.

Maj. Gen. Daryl Bohac, Nebraska adjutant general, presided over the ceremonies and spoke on the importance of the promotion and change of command in relation to the Nebraska Air National Guard’s diverse, worldwide mission.

“I have no doubt Bob will perform superbly as our next assistant adjutant general of the Nebraska Air National Guard,” Bohac said. “He’s a great spokesman and he’s done a number of things nationally already.”

For example, Bohac said, during Stevenson’s recent tenure as the commander of the 155th Air Refueling Wing, he maintained an “amazing track record” of accident-free flying hours during a multi-year era when the unit set numerous annual records for flying while additionally setting the tone for why safety matters.

“You are the right person at the right time to take the position,” Bohac added.

Stevenson accepted the flag of command from Brig. Gen. Keith A. Schell, who had served in the position since January 2016. Schell is set to retire from the Nebraska Air National Guard in February 2018.

“Keith served admirably in a variety of positions in the Nebraska National Guard,” Bohac said. “Without fail he engaged in everything I asked him to do and engaged in areas where he didn’t need to be told to.”

Most importantly, Bohac said, Schell was a constant advocate for the Airmen of the Nebraska Air National Guard.

“I am grateful for your service, and on behalf of the Airmen of the Nebraska Air National Guard, thank you for what you have done,” Bohac added.

In completing his assignment, Schell thanked the members of the Nebraska Air National Guard for their support, adding that he was humbled to have been given the chance to lead the Nebraska Air National Guard as the assistant adjutant general. He said he has confidence that Stevenson is ready to take the Nebraska Air National Guard to even greater heights.

“To Bob, a friend and hard worker, I look forward to sitting on the sidelines and watching you do what you do best.”

Stevenson said he appreciates the opportunity to continue to build upon the work done by Schell and other Nebraska Air Guard leaders.

“Brigadier General Schell, thank you for your diligent and dedicated oversight and concern for the Nebraska Air National Guard during your incredible career and more specifically in your tenure as the (assistant adjutant general),” Stevenson said. “I will try to preserve your legacy.”

Stevenson said he was humbled to be taking on his new title and rank.

“It is a little uncomfortable for the focus to be on me because why we’re here is really about this organization’s people and the role that it plays in the defense and stabilization of the nation,” Stevenson said.

Stevenson joined the Guard in 1997 following eight years in the U.S. Air Force. He has flown more than 4,000 hours and is a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He said that his career and personal life have shown him the importance mentoring and developing teamwork can have.

“Each one of us can positively encourage and help others,” he said. “You never know what one little thing you do will make all the difference that creates your legacy, changes someone else’s life and may impact families for generations.”