By Tech. Sgt. Jason Schaap, 931 ARG Public Affairs
/ Published March 07, 2007
McConnell, AFB, Kan. -- In a way, the 931st Air Refueling Group will become 30 years older during the March Unit Training Assembly. That's when Col. Tim Cahoon is scheduled to assume command of the Group, bringing with him three decades of Air Force experience.
He was last assigned to Air Combat Command Headquarters at Langley Air Force Base, Va., as a Reserve advisor and despite the contrast in scenery, Col. Cahoon is excited about leading the 931st. He said, "It will be great to get back to a group command. I have missed the role and unit people ever since leaving command of the 340th Flying Training Group at Randolph.(Air Force Base, Tex.)"
"Gee--we're going to miss the trees," the Richmond, Ind., native said smiling, also referring to his fellow Hoosier-wife and what they thought about a potential move to the plains of Kansas. "But this was such a good opportunity. I get to continue to serve, to command, which I thoroughly love and I get to fly again." They have also previously lived in the Plains states in Oklahoma and northern Texas while Col. Cahoon served as a T-38 Talon instructor pilot.
Colonel Cahoon first became acquainted with McConnell Air Force Base in 1990 while learning to fly F-16 Falcons. It wasn't his first time flying fighters. He's flown A-10 Warthogs at Grissom Air Reserve Base, Ind., and Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo.
He is currently training at Altus Air Force Base, Okla., refamiliarizing himself with the KC-135 Stratotanker. It's been a while, but Colonel Cahoon is no stranger to the tanker community. He began his career flying the original "A" models of the KC-135 soon after his active-duty commissioning in 1977. Around the time the 931st was standing up at McConnell in 1995, Colonel Cahoon was starting his second stint with the Stratotanker at Grissom.
Colonel Cahoon will take the reins of the group not just as an experienced tanker pilot, but as a war-tested leader. In addition to his squadron and group-level command experience, he voluntarily served in group command positions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
He asked to go for reasons that speak to how he approaches leading.
"I try to set a good example," he said. "I didn't think it was right to encourage my people (to deploy) if I was not willing to do it myself."
Colonel Cahoon "strongly believes" in the mission and expects his Airmen "do what it takes" to accomplish it. He's a fan of history and reading biographies and tries to lead with determination, and inspire like Sir Winston Churchill, someone he admires. "He persevered in the face of tremendous adversity, stuck to his guns and stood up for what he believed in," Colonel Cahoon said.
It isn't a secret that he also shares Churchill's face of focus. He's been told he has a stern look, but he wants his Airmen to consider him approachable. He has an open-door policy, and he shouldn't be too hard to find. He confessed that he's been called a workaholic. He believes in hard work and expects those under his command to commit themselves to the core values of the Air Force.
He also expects Airmen to commit themselves to the staying physically fit to fight. The Group's fitness program is something he plans to be "very interested" in after he takes command in March.
"I've seen the value in being fit and how it leads to good health and better health, stamina and endurance in the demanding deployed environment," he said.
Colonel Cahoon also knows how important it is to families for servicemembers to take care of themselves before and during war. His father served in World War II and both his sons, Chad and Eric, deployed to Iraq with the Army and the Air Force, respectively.
Ironically, Colonel Cahoon's father started pilot training and realized it wasn't for him.
But Colonel Cahoon always liked airplanes and although he received a bachelor's degree in aeronautical engineering from Purdue University, he jokingly tells people he majored in the Reserve Officer Training Corps. "I was so looking forward to being an Air Force officer and flying," he said.
While he's far from being a sports fanatic, Colonel Cahoon said, he does cheer for all things Boilermaker. His wife of 35 years, Vicki, is also from Richmond and not only shares his Hoosier roots but his love of roots, plants, paint and projects featured on the Home and Garden Network.
They also spend lots of time adoring the next Cahoon generation, all four of them. "I love being a Grandpa," Colonel Cahoon said.