Air Force taps new commander for Utah base
Utah base • Former vice commander will switch job titles with 75th wing’s boss.
Published: December 31, 2012 11:08PM
Updated: December 31, 2012 11:30PM
Col. Kathryn L. Kolbe. Courtesy image

The Air Force is tapping a former vice commander, Col. Kathryn L. Kolbe, to be Hill Air Force Base’s commander as the new leader for the 75th Air Base Wing.

Kolbe is essentially switching job titles with Col. Sarah E. Zabel, who is being promoted to brigadier general and will become special assistant to the commander of the Air Force Sustainment Center, which is based at Tinker Air Base in Oklahoma.

The Ogden Air Logistics Complex at Hill is part of that center, and a HAFB news release on Monday said Zabel will remain on the Utah base.

Kolbe will assume command of the 75th Air Base Wing on Jan. 11 in a 9 a.m. ceremony on base, according to Monday’s news release.

She could not immediately be reached for comment Monday.

The 75th Air Base Wing has roughly 1,500 employees but its leader is considered the base commander because it provides installation support for the air logistics complex, two fighter wings and 61 other units that altogether have 24,000 active duty, civilian and contractor employees.

It also operates the massive Utah Test and Training Range and supports the Air and Space Expeditionary Forces operations.

A native of Pennsylvania, Kolbe earned her commission through the ROTC program at Lehigh University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering in 1990. She later earned master’s degrees in organizational management and resource management.

Kolbe was based in Baghdad from July 2009 to July 2010, serving as chief of basing, facilities and the environmental division for the U.S. Forces-Iraq directorate.

After that, she became vice commander of the 75th Air Base Wing at HAFB and last summer was moved to become special assistant to the commander of the Air Force Sustainment Center.

Lt. Gen. Bruce A. Litchfield, commander of the Air Force Sustainment Center, will officiate at the Jan. 11 change-of-command ceremony.

The Ogden complex was renamed and made a part of the Air Force Sustainment Center at Tinker Air Force Base in July as part of an Air Force reorganization designed to save money.

Twitter: @KristenMoulton