Hewlett Assumes Command of the 184th Wing

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Samantha Root, 184th Wing Public Affairs
  • 184th Wing

Col. David Hewlett assumed command of the Kansas Air National Guard’s 184th Wing during a change of command ceremony at McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas, March 2, 2024.

The official party included Brig. Gen. Jason Knobbe, commander of the Kansas Air National Guard; Col. Steve Smart, outgoing commander, 184th Wing; and Col. David Hewlett, incoming commander, 184th Wing.

Knobbe delivered his remarks to highlight both commanders.

“Colonel Steve Smart, he has excelled at the wing command,” said Knobbe. “Steve is a powerhouse of an officer. Administratively, [he is] probably the best officer that I've worked with. His ability to communicate is far superior to most. Colonel Smart commanded one of the most mission diverse wings in the Air National Guard delivering real time, multi domain intelligence analysis, cyber operations and network support and full-spectrum air command and control.”

“Colonel David Hewlett, for those that don’t know Dave, he has a proven track record of being willing to go above and beyond to make the hard call, make the hard decisions, and do what’s best for the organization,” said Knobbe. “He is a joint qualified officer, which is a difficult thing to do in the guard. Experience and character matter; Dave has both. He will take the 184th into the future and drive our mission capabilities and hone our fighting edge.”


Smart Reflects on Command and Prepares the 184th for Future Growth 

Smart has commanded the 184th Wing since March 2023. During his command, the unit hosted a joint combined large scale readiness exercise, supported Indo-Pacific Command priorities to establish the first maritime disposition of forces tracker, and served as the operating location for three iterations of Royal Australian Air Force’s Red Dagger exercise.

“To my Jayhawk family, I want to thank you. I have been honored to be your commander and to lead the best 1,300 citizen airmen in the United States Air Force this past year. You continually amazed. From successful deployments to mobilizations, to informing key decision makers in Washington D.C. and Topeka, you led the way,” said Smart.

According to Smart, it’s an exciting day for the 184th Wing. The change of command marks the ceremonial beginning of a new focus. The 184th will work towards growing their unique and critical operational capabilities while attracting a new mission set in next generation warfare.

“Colonel Hewlett is absolutely the right leader to move this wing forward as it finalizes re-optimization for great power competition. His extensive operational experience will serve the wing and the state well, and to build on the strengths of the team and to push them to greater heights.”

Smart concluded his time as the wing commander with one final charge, “Work hard. Be nice.”


Hewlett Prepares to Lead the Fighting Jayhawks into a New Era

Hewlett and his family relocated to Kansas on July 15, 2009. That same day, shortly after arriving to base housing at McConnell Air Force Base, tornado sirens began to sound. Hewlett and his wife wondered if they had made a mistake, but instead, the last 15 years at the 184th evolved into an opportunity he and his family had never imagined.

After spending 16 years as an F-16 crew chief, aircraft maintenance officer, and intelligence officer in Alabama and Florida, Hewlett transferred to the 184th Wing to serve as the chief of Intelligence for the 177th Information Aggressor Squadron. In 2014, he was appointed as the A2 Intelligence Directorate at Joint Base Andrews. He returned to the 184th Wing in 2016 and served as the commander for multiple squadrons. His latest assignments include 184th Cyberspace Operations Group commander, and the deputy commander of the 184th Wing.

“To the airmen of the 184th Wing, it is an honor to serve with you,” said Hewlett. “There is no better day than today to take command of the wing. We have incredible airmen currently deployed, answering its nation's call, standing guard at the edge of democracy and tyranny, and with many more set to deploy in the months to come. A wing whose program expertise, professionalism, and culture of compliance was on rigorous MAJCOM level evaluation just a month ago, resulting in standard Jayhawk brilliance. A wing who's on the cusp of showcasing our cyber security readiness to the largest cyber defense agency in the world. A wing who's actively supporting our national defense strategy by providing strategical and tactical intelligence all over the world.”

At the conclusion of the change of command ceremony, Hewlett stated, “Together, there's nothing we can’t accomplish. I am excited for the opportunity to face the challenges affecting our nation with each and every one of you. To fight, protect, and win anytime, anywhere. May God bless America. May God bless all of you.”