MADISON, Wis. — Gov. Scott Walker promoted two senior Wisconsin Air National Guard officers, Col. David Dziobkowski and Col. David Yenchesky, to the rank of brigadier general during a formal ceremony Oct. 20 in the Senate Chamber of the state capitol.
Yenchesky is currently the Wisconsin Air National Guard’s chief of staff, where he provides executive support functions for the adjutant general and helps coordinate Joint Force Headquarters activities. An Air Force Academy graduate, Yenchesky is the former commander of the 128th Refueling Wing in Milwaukee, and is a command pilot with more than 4,000 flying hours.
Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, Wisconsin’s adjutant general, said it was a privilege to know two such fine officers and to have served with them for the past several years.
“Everything that [Col. Yenchesky] took on, everyplace that Dan went, things got done exactly the way they were supposed to get done — exceptionally well,” Dunbar said. “Always taking care of his lane and being able to mentor and take care of others as he went along.
“He’s got a gold-plated resume,” Dunbar continued, “and I’m so excited about him coming to headquarters and being a mentor to the commanders of the 128th and 115th as well.”
Dziobkowski is a West Point Military Academy graduate, and the early part of his military career was spent in the active Army. During this time he served as an airborne infantry company commander during Operation Desert Storm. Dunbar noted that Dziobkowski is one of a very few Air Force officers authorized to wear a combat infantry badge.
“He talks about wearing a blue uniform and green socks,” Dunbar said.
Dziobkowski stepped away from the military long enough to earn a law degree, and then joined the Wisconsin Air National Guard’s 115th Fighter Wing as a judge advocate. He served as judge advocate general, the Wisconsin National Guard’s top legal advisor, beginning in 2012, and recently served as the Wisconsin National Guard’s United States Property and Fiscal Officer. He will shortly serve as the Rule of Law Director for U.S. forces in Afghanistan, responsible for directing military rule of law conduct in coordination with the U.S. embassy, NATO and Afghan governmental agencies and non-governmental agencies.
“The quality advice that you get from the legal adviser on matters of consequence and substance to let you make good decisions on behalf of your Soldiers and Airmen — I got that every day from Col. Dave Dziobkowski when he was my judge advocate general,” Dunbar said.
Walker spoke of meeting deployed Wisconsin Air National Guard members recently at Kunsan Air Base in South Korea, as well as other Wisconsin Guard members during past overseas visits.
“It’s another reminder of how remarkable our National Guard is,” Walker said. “For those on the ground, there is no distinction between Guard and Reserve and active duty. We say that we have the best of the best, but when we’re out in the field we know we have the best of the best — we know the exceptional training, expertise and courage of our men and women.”
Known for his sense of humor, Dziobkowski acknowledged Yenchesky’s academy credentials.
“Despite your stint at the Air Force Academy, I’m sure your family is quite proud of you,” the West Point Military Academy graduate quipped.
Dziobkowski thanked the governor and adjutant general as well as his family, noting that his father served with the 32nd Division, formed 100 years ago from Wisconsin and Michigan National Guard Soldiers. He also thanked his wife Mary Ellen for her support during his military career. He listed the units he served with — active Army and Wisconsin Air National Guard —during his career.
“All my mentors — seniors, subordinates and colleagues — come from that collection of individuals,” Dziobkowski said. “I am grateful for the opportunity to serve in this uniform with those organizations.”
Yenchesky acknowledged the Wisconsin Air National Guard members presently supporting hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico as well as those deployed to South Korea “in harm’s way, right on the doorstep of danger, and doing a great job.”
Military service is part of Yenchesky’s family and upbringing. His father James is a retired command sergeant major who spent time with the Wisconsin Army National Guard — “That’s a good thing to have during the teenage years,” he joked — and his wife Shannon is an Army Reserve colonel who recently returned from her own deployment to Puerto Rico helping with hurricane relief efforts there.
Yenchesky spoke of the level of sacrifice in Wisconsin, big and small, as families play an important role ensuring Soldiers and Airmen are trained and prepared “to do the hardest things in the world for the nation.”
“They need the support of their families, they need the support of their employers, they need the support of their elected leaders to return successfully,” Yenchesky said.
Both officers take on increased leadership roles as the Wisconsin National Guard continues to remain an integral component of the nation’s defense establishment serving as both the primary combat reserve of the Army and Air Force as well as the first military responder in the homeland.
Approximately 650 Red Arrow troops recently returned from Florida where they provided humanitarian relief, security and traffic control support to communities in the wake of Hurricane Irma as well. In addition, Airmen from the 128th Air Refueling Wing, 115th Fighter Wing and Volk Field Combat Readiness Training Center deployed to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands in the wake of Hurricane Maria this fall.
Meanwhile, the Wisconsin National Guard simultaneously continues its global security mission. Soldiers of the West Bend-based 248th Aviation Support Battalion deployed to the Middle East Sept. 30. Approximately 270 Airmen from the 115th Fighter Wing deployed to Korea in August, while 110 Airmen from the 128th Air Control Squadron deployed to Southwest Asia in May, and more than 70 Airmen from the 128th Air Refueling Wing in Milwaukee are deploying worldwide to support global security operations. Another 150 Soldiers from the Wisconsin Army National Guard's 1st Battalion, 147th Aviation deployed to Kuwait last spring, and 35 Soldiers from the West Bend-based Company C, 1st Battalion, 168th Aviation deployed to Afghanistan last winter.