EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska --
From the time a person enters the military service, one thing is guaranteed: moving around.
Some people might not enjoy being stationed at the same location more than once, but Col. Brian Toth, the 354th Operations Group commander, and his family have learned to embrace it.
Toth’s career at Eielson began back in the early 2000s and since turned a full 360 degrees. He began as the 18th Fighter Squadron chief of squadron weapons and tactics, then took command of the 353rd Combat Training Squadron, culminating in his current position as the commander of the 354th Operations Group.
“I’ve been exposed to many of the behind-the-scenes roles within CTS, and although I learned from both good and bad leaders, I try to use those experiences to make me better,” Toth explained. “Since I ran RED FLAG-Alaska for a year and a half, I feel that I have a good grasp on how all of the moving pieces should be put together.”
Since taking command in June 2015, Toth is responsible for three squadrons at Eielson along with Detachment 1 at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and although he is seasoned with the weather, he said he always has room to learn the job.
“I appreciate the opportunity to have served as the operations group commander because I’ve learned a lot while being in this position,” said Toth. “I hope for continued success for the RED FLAG-Alaska exercise and expanding the 18th Aggressor Squadron enterprise while maintaining and supporting real-world missions.”
Toth logged more than 200 F-16 Fighting Falcon flying hours as a pilot with the Aggressors for sorties during RED FLAG-Alaska exercises, but juggles the different squadrons when he’s not in the air.
“My favorite part of being the commander is allowing my squadron commanders the opportunity to lead and being able to take care of people when they need me,” said Toth. “I’m here to provide guidance and help when I’m needed, but seeing their success makes me feel great.”
The dedicated crew chief of Toth’s aircraft spends more one-on-one time with him than most, and said many people outside the operations group also recognize Toth as a good leader.
“Colonel Toth is very personable and he always makes sure my assistant and I are good to go,” said Staff Sgt. Eric Sandberg, a 354th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron dedicated crew chief. “We see the great things he’s done for us here because he’s willing to fight for us and rewards us – we can tell he cares because he tries to get us training opportunities outside of Alaska.”
Although Toth’s next assignment remains a mystery, he said he’ll go wherever the Air Force needs him, but chances are he won’t find himself back at Eielson for another commanding position and fourth tour.