Stewart new BHS JROTC director

Published 7:40 pm Friday, July 30, 2010

Colonel David Stewart, a former U.S. Air Force pilot and Desert Storm veteran, is the new Air Force Junior ROTC director at Bainbridge High School.

He replaces Colonel Gary Breedlove, who founded the program, directed it for 16 years, and retired after leading his unit to a Distinguished Unit With Merit Award for a seventh consecutive year.

Senior Master Sergeant Frank Geslak, who worked with Col. Breedlove, will continue to be an instructor in the program.

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The last active duty assignment for Col. Stewart, who retired after 25 years of service, was at Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi, where he did pilot training.

Before that, he served at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota, where he flew K C-135 aircraft.

Colonel Stewart flew air refueling missions in the Mideast during Desert Storm. He also was a personnel assistant at Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, and flew C-9 aircraft Medivac missions at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany.

The new BHS Air Force Junior ROTC director served as a C-9 aircraft instructor at Scott Air Force Base in Bellville, Ill.

He also oversaw civil air patrol at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.

A native of Montgomery, Ala., Stewart and his wife Kim are both graduates of Troy University. They have a 21-year-old son Tyler ,who is a sophomore at Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, Fla., and an 18-year-old daughter Madison, who is a freshman at the University of Mississippi.

Now that he’s at BHS, Colonel Stewart said one of his goals is to increase the ROTC units numbers.

“I would like to see our unit’s numbers come up from 80 to 100 [cadets] or more,” he said. “We will continue the highly successful Toys For Tots program that Colonel Breedlove had and continue to send our color guard to various city and county veterans activities.

“Our first drill team competition will be Saturday, Sept. 25 at Lowndes County High School in Valdosta.”