BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. (KSLA) — Lt. Col. Quincy Rhinehart is the newest commander of the 2nd Operations Support Squadron at Barksdale Air Force Base.
“Along with the 260 people I work with, all this air field you see around you is my responsibility,” he said. “The tower, air space management, anything you can think of that requires an air base or major airport to run falls under my purview.”
Rhinehart grew up in Shreveport, where he attended Captain Shreve High School, then went on to Louisiana Tech University.
“My father was also in the Air Force,” Rhinehart said. “He was actually stationed at Barksdale back in the day. And that’s how I ended up growing up in the local area. I’m going into year 16 this year.”
Earlier this year, Rhinehart participated in the B-52 flyovers across Louisiana showing support for the state’s healthcare workers.
“Definitely was one of the highlights on my career. We don’t often get to fly that low over major cities, especially ones that you’re familiar with,” Rhinehart said. “As much as I’ve visited New Orleans, I’ve never seen it from the air quite so low. So that was actually a big deal for me.
“From what I could tell, the pilots were talking about seeing people waving and big crowds gathered as we went over each hospital,” he continued. “Watching it later on on the news and actually seeing what the signs said ... we are just trying to show our appreciation for them and they were just so excited to see us, it just stood out to be that they really appreciated what we were doing.”
A team effort helped show their solidarity for those on the front lines battling COVID-19, Rhinehart said. “It actually was a total force thing.
“So we had the F-15s from the Louisiana National Guard. We had reserve B-52 from our 307. And we also had our active-duty folks,” he added. “But behind the scenes, all the mission planners, our weather briefers, the maintainers who got the aircrafts ready to fly and met the aircraft when we landed. It was a very big team effort that not everyone got to see.”
In between the flyovers, they went through training exercises as well.
“In addition to the flyovers, which is good training for us anyway as we are trying to get a specific time over a specific point, we also integrated with the Lousiana Air National Guard out of New Orleans at Belle Chasse,” Rhinehart said. “They did the flyovers with us.
“We did a couple fighter intercept exercises in between the flyovers. So it wasn’t just a flyover everyone saw. We actually went over the Gulf of Mexico fighting against our F-15s , then they tried to protect us and then we did our flyovers.”
No additional flyovers have been requested at this time. But Rhinehart said they are always prepared to show their appreciation again.
“Of course we are always ready to do it. We fly every day here for our regular training missions. So if it was requested, definitely.”