OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb., –
Culminating more than 35 years of dedicated service, the director of Reserve forces and mobilization assistant to the commander of U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM), Maj. Gen. Richard J. Evans III, retired from the U.S. Air Force Oct. 1, 2019, at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska.
For the past three years, Evans served as the USSTRATCOM commander’s principal advisor for all Reserve component matters related to the command’s diverse missions, including strategic deterrence and assurance; nuclear operations, nuclear command, control and communications; space and cyberspace operations; global strike operations; integrated missile defense; joint electromagnetic spectrum operations and joint warfare analysis.
“Working at a combatant command is a really special opportunity,” Evans said. “You are at the highest level of warfighting in the Department of Defense. When you work at USSTRATCOM, you really are doing something special because the nation’s most important missions are assigned to this command.”
Evans held a total of four separate positions within the command during the past seven years, ranging from working in global operations, to a principal advisor for both the deputy commander and commander. He also served as the acting deputy commander for three months in 2016.
“Rick’s contributions and achievements within the command are only a small part of his storied Air Force career,” said Gen. John Hyten, commander of USSTRATCOM. “He is an exceptional leader, who gave everything to the command. What an amazing role model and friend. He will truly be missed.”
Evans was also the program manager responsible for the command’s transition into the new command and control facility. He spearheaded the command’s interests and ensured the facility was ready to support all of USSTRATCOM’s personnel and mission sets. The facility will serve as the central nervous system for the nation’s nuclear deterrent mission and is an important piece of the National Military Command System.
“It’s been an honor to take on the role of program manager for this critical project,” Evans said. “It’s an important capability that we are going to have for the rest of this century and to be on the ground floor of the transition has been amazing to watch.”
Evans, an Omaha native and 1984 graduate of the University of Nebraska-Omaha, began his military career with a tough decision. After college, he was offered the opportunity to attend the U.S. Air Force’s Officer Training School and the U.S. Navy’s Officer Candidate School. While discussing his options with a colleague, he also learned about the Air National Guard’s commissioning program.
“I was actually working for a company in west Omaha,” Evans explained. “My boss was in the Air National Guard down in Lincoln, Nebraska, and asked me if I ever talked to the Guard. He knew I was interested in flying and said that most people in the Air Guard are part time and continue working civilian jobs.
“I chose the ANG because of being a home-state Nebraskan,” Evans said. “It provided me the opportunity to serve Nebraska and my country in the U.S. Air Force at the same time. I made the choice and haven’t looked back.”
Throughout his career, he served as a weapons systems officer instructor for the RF-4 Phantom II, an instructor and evaluator for the KC-135 Stratotanker, and commanded at the detachment, squadron, group and wing levels. He held multiple staff assignments and served as Chair of the Air National Guard’s KC-135 and Space, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance and Cyber Weapon System Councils. Prior to arriving to USSTRATCOM in 2012, Evans commanded the Nebraska ANG’s 155th Air Refueling Wing in Lincoln. During that assignment he also served as director of mobility forces for NATO Operation Unified Protector in 2011.
In addition, Evans logged more than 4,000 flying hours, supporting operations Uphold Democracy, Decisive Endeavor, Deliberate Guard, Deliberate Force, Allied Force, Southern Watch, Northern Watch, Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. More than 500 of those hours came during his time at USSTRATCOM where he led the airborne command post battle staff as an airborne emergency action officer. This position provides survivable, mobile command and control capability during time of crisis.
Following his long career, Evans is going to take some time to reset and prepare for the next stage of his life.
“I haven’t had a whole lot of time off, especially in the last 20 to 25 years,” Evans said. “So I will take time to decompress and change my mindset from coming to work every day early and going home late, while being responsible for lots of things. I plan to take some time to relax and spend time with family.”
However, Evans isn’t done working. The desire to serve, even after more than 35 years of dedicated service to one’s country, does not just instantly go away.
“Following my break I want to support local community efforts related to military and veteran affairs,” Evans continued. “Once I take my uniform off, I will work hard to continue interacting with USSTRATCOM and the Air Force as part of the community partnership.”
USSTRATCOM has global responsibilities assigned through the Unified Command Plan that include strategic deterrence, nuclear operations, joint electromagnetic spectrum operations, global strike, missile defense, and analysis and targeting.
For more information, contact the USSTRATCOM Public Affairs Office at 402-294-4130 or USSTRATCOMPA@mail.mil or visit www.stratcom.mil.