Pittsburgh native takes command of 920th Maintenance Group

Col. Leo J. Kamphaus, Jr.’s family pins the rank of colonel on his uniform during a ceremonial promotion ceremony held during the 920th Rescue Wing’s monthly Unit Training Assembly at Patrick, Air Force Base, Florida, March 3. The honor was immediately followed by another formality recognizing his new role as the 920th Maintenance Group commander. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brandon Kalloo Sanes)

Col. Leo J. Kamphaus, Jr.’s family pins the rank of colonel on his uniform during a ceremonial promotion ceremony held during the 920th Rescue Wing’s monthly Unit Training Assembly at Patrick, Air Force Base, Florida, March 3. The honor was immediately followed by another formality recognizing his new role as the 920th Maintenance Group commander. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brandon Kalloo Sanes)

Reserve Citizen Airmen with the 920th Maintenance Group attend their new commanding officer’s change of command ceremony at Patrick, Air Force Base, Florida, March 3. The unit is tasked with maintaining rescue aircraft assigned to the 920th Rescue Wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brandon Kalloo Sanes)

Reserve Citizen Airmen with the 920th Maintenance Group attend their new commanding officer’s change of command ceremony at Patrick, Air Force Base, Florida, March 3. The unit is tasked with maintaining rescue aircraft assigned to the 920th Rescue Wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brandon Kalloo Sanes)

Col. Kurt Matthews (left), 920th Rescue Wing Commander, hands Col. Leo J. Kamphaus, Jr. (right) the 920th Maintenance Group guidon, officially recognizing Kamphaus’ assumption of command over the maintenance group. The ceremony is a common staple in military units around the world. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brandon Kalloo Sanes)

Col. Kurt Matthews (left), 920th Rescue Wing Commander, hands Col. Leo J. Kamphaus, Jr. (right) the 920th Maintenance Group guidon, officially recognizing Kamphaus’ assumption of command over the maintenance group. The ceremony is a common staple in military units around the world. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brandon Kalloo Sanes)

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Florida --

Freshly promoted Col. Leo J. Kamphaus, Jr., assumed command of the 920th Maintenance Group, at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, March 3.

After a brief ceremony recognizing his promotion from the rank of lieutenant colonel to colonel, he ceremoniously took command of the maintenance group during this month’s Unit Training Assembly.

The maintainers are responsible for sustaining aircraft, including HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters and HC – 130 P/N King aircraft, capable of supporting long-range search-and-rescue missions anywhere in the world.

“I’m glad Colonel Kamphaus is joining the 920th because he has all the qualities I’m looking for in a leader,” said Col. Kurt Mathews, 920th Rescue Wing commander. “He wants to be here, he has the experience and he’s a team builder. He truly cares about the mission and the people; I’m confident he’s going to do the right thing... He’s going to be an outstanding part of the team.”

Kamphaus values education, earning his Master of Science in Military Operational Art and Science from Air University, Maxwell AFB, Alabama, in 2012. In fact, he encourages all of his Airmen to pursue higher education opportunities while serving, to aid their professional development.

The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, born colonel has held more than 10 maintenance leadership positions over the course of nearly two decades and has deployed to several countries including Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iraq.

He appreciates how well developed the 920th MXG is and hopes to improve it further by working meticulously with personnel at every level, believing the next generation has innovative ideas to offer the Air Force Reserve.  

“We fly right into the teeth of evil and save people,” Kamphaus said. “I am humbled to be amongst these great men and women who lay everything on the line to save lives.”  

When Kamphaus has downtime, he enjoys spending time with his family. He also likes playing and watching team sports like basketball, softball and football; the Pittsburgh Steelers being his favorite team in the NFL.  

Kamphaus attributes much of his success to his education, experience and his loving wife, and he is adamant that quality mentors set him up for success along the way, stating: “They let me lead, but they never let me fail.”