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Third time's a charm: Seasoned commander returns to Eielson

U.S. Air Force Col. Brian Toth, the 354th Operations Group commander, pauses for a brief photo in his office, June 17, 2016, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. During two prior assignments at Eielson, Toth served as a weapons officer with the 18th Fighter Squadron, and later as the 353rd Combat Training Squadron commander. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ashley Nicole Taylor/Released)

U.S. Air Force Col. Brian Toth, the 354th Operations Group commander, pauses for a brief photo in his office, June 17, 2016, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. During two prior assignments at Eielson, Toth served as a weapons officer with the 18th Fighter Squadron, and later as the 353rd Combat Training Squadron commander. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ashley Nicole Taylor/Released)

U.S. Air Force Col. Brian Toth, the 354th Operations Group commander, climbs an F-16 Fighting Falcon before a morning sortie, June 16, 2016, during RED FLAG-Alaska 16-2, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Toth took command in July 2015, making this his third assignment at Eielson. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ashley Nicole Taylor/Released)

U.S. Air Force Col. Brian Toth, the 354th Operations Group commander, climbs an F-16 Fighting Falcon before a morning sortie, June 16, 2016, during RED FLAG-Alaska 16-2, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Toth took command in July 2015, making this his third assignment at Eielson. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ashley Nicole Taylor/Released)

U.S. Air Force Col. Brian Toth, the 354th Operations Group (OG) commander, left, thanks Staff Sgt. Dale LeCrone, a 354th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron dedicated crew chief prior to a morning sortie June 16, 2016, during RED FLAG-Alaska (RF-A) 16-2, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Toth attributes the success of RF-A to the hardworking men and women of the 354th OG. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ashley Nicole Taylor/Released)

U.S. Air Force Col. Brian Toth, the 354th Operations Group (OG) commander, left, thanks Staff Sgt. Dale LeCrone, a 354th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron dedicated crew chief prior to a morning sortie June 16, 2016, during RED FLAG-Alaska (RF-A) 16-2, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Toth attributes the success of RF-A to the hardworking men and women of the 354th OG. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ashley Nicole Taylor/Released)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Dale LeCrone, a 354th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron dedicated crew chief, talks with Col. Brian Toth, the 354th Operations Group commander, before performing pre-flight checks June 16, 2016, during RED FLAG-Alaska (RF-A) 16-2, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. As a prior 353rd Combat Training Squadron commander, Toth has held multiple roles in RF-A and uses that knowledge to make the joint training exercise as successful as possible. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ashley Nicole Taylor/Released)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Dale LeCrone, a 354th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron dedicated crew chief, talks with Col. Brian Toth, the 354th Operations Group commander, before performing pre-flight checks June 16, 2016, during RED FLAG-Alaska (RF-A) 16-2, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. As a prior 353rd Combat Training Squadron commander, Toth has held multiple roles in RF-A and uses that knowledge to make the joint training exercise as successful as possible. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ashley Nicole Taylor/Released)

U.S. Air Force Col. Brian Toth, the 354th Operations Group commander, taxis for a morning sortie June 16, 2016, during RED FLAG-Alaska 16-2, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Toth took command last July and logged more than 200 hours in the F-16. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ashley Nicole Taylor/Released)

U.S. Air Force Col. Brian Toth, the 354th Operations Group commander, taxis for a morning sortie June 16, 2016, during RED FLAG-Alaska 16-2, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Toth took command last July and logged more than 200 hours in the F-16. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ashley Nicole Taylor/Released)

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.