Colonel Denker assumes command of ACSC
Col. Stephen Denker, center, assumes command of Air Command and Staff College from Maj. Gen. Robert Kane, left, commander of the Spaatz Center and presiding officer of the ceremony Wednesday at the ACSC Wood Auditorium. Senior Master Sgt. Farentino Wardlaw, ACSC superintendent, looks on. (Air Force photo/Melanie Rodgers Cox)
by Kelly Deichert
Air University Public Affairs
1/14/2011 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- The cold weather last weekend did not diminish the warm welcome Col. Stephen Denker and his wife, Corrine, received from the community.
He was impressed by the show of support, despite the base closure Monday for an ice storm, he said during his Air Command and Staff College assumption of command ceremony Wednesday.
"I'm extremely honored to be serving as the commandant of ACSC and am ready to get to work," he said.
"We have another great Air Force Family joining the Spaatz Center," said Maj. Gen. Robert Kane, commander of the center and presiding officer of the ceremony.
Before looking forward to Colonel Denker's command, General Kane looked back on the accomplishments of Brig. Gen. Anthony Rock, who recently deployed to Iraq as commander of the 321st Air Expeditionary Wing and director of the Air Force's training and advisory mission to their Iraqi counterparts.
"(General Rock) showed a real passion for educating our future leaders and commanders," General Kane said. General Rock continually looked for ways to improve, including new concentrations for the online master's degree program and opening it to captains.
General Kane said he is proud of General Rock's and ACSC's successes, including outreach opportunities and support of careerlong learning.
General Kane said he anticipates great accomplishments from Colonel Denker.
"He has proven to be a great commander and leader," the general said. He also said that Colonel Denker's diverse background will make him a key member of the ACSC team.
Colonel Denker's operations experience includes test and evaluation activities, as well as specialized applications on a variety of space and ground systems. He began his Air Force career as a spacecraft engineer at Los Angeles Air Force Base. He was previously the commander of the Aerospace Data Facility-Colorado at Buckley AFB, Colo. Colonel Denker has been nominated to the grade of brigadier general.
The Air Force has a great foresight in getting the right leader in the right job at the right time, General Kane said. He encouraged the incoming commandant to "continue looking for better ways to educate our officers," he said. "You're taking command of a great group of professionals," he said. "Welcome to our family."
Colonel Denker said he is thankful to be here and for the vote of confidence from General Kane and Lt. Gen. Allen Peck, commander of Air University.
"Command is a very precious gift, one that comes with a unique duty to mix the responsibilities of caring for people with the awesome responsibility of accomplishing a critical mission," he said.
Colonel Denker said he is excited to be back at ACSC, where he was a student from 1997-1998.
"The college has a long history of distinguished success," he said, and he looks forward to sharing his experiences in the space operation and joint intelligence worlds.
He expects ACSC to operate as part of a larger team, working with the Spaatz Center, Air University, Maxwell-Gunter, as well as the other centers, colleges and schools on base.
"We will focus on the people aspect of our mission" to deliver student-centered professional military education in the most effective and efficient way possible, Colonel Denker said.