Incoming and outgoing commanders share rural county Tennessee roots

  • Published
  • By Deb Henley, 505th Command and Control Wing Public Affairs
  • 605th Test and Evaluation Squadron, Detachment 2

Two northwest Tennessee rural county residents took part in the 605th Test and Evaluation Squadron, Detachment 2’s change of command ceremony on May 19 at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. 

Lt. Col. Dierk Seifert, Martin, Tennessee native, was on stage to relinquish his command to, Lt. Col. Kevan “Caveman” Seamans, Dresden, Tennessee native. The two grew up nine miles from each other and never met until they were in the U.S. Air Force, attending Undergraduate Air Battle Management training at Tyndall AFB, Florida. 

“Being from the same area, serving in the Air Force, and in the same career field definitely gave us common ground. We’ve both been in different squadrons over the years, but the knowledge of a common background and upbringing facilitated a career-long friendship,” said Seamans.  “The military has afforded us both the opportunity to make many life-long friendships that survive the test of time; there really is something special about military service and comradery that is not easily found elsewhere.” 

“Myself, and the detachment, are extremely fortunate to have Lt. Col. Kevan Seamans come in as my replacement.  I have known Kevan for many years, and through some extraordinary circumstance, we are both from Weakley County,” said Lt. Col. Dierk Seifert, 605th TES Detachment 2 commander.  “I can’t think of a better or more capable individual to lead the unit in these turbulent yet exciting times.”

Their families in Tennessee realized the two were connected before they did.

“It turned out that Dierk’s mother-in-law, Glenda Jackson, and my grandmother, Jerry Seamans, were very close friends and had made the connection before Dierk and I did that were both stationed at Tyndall,” said Seamans.  “The kinship of being from the same county and families knowing each other definitely connected us as brothers in arms and being assigned to the same mission here at Robins, both on the E-8C and now in the 605th TES, Detachment 2.” 

The change of command is a military tradition, formally transferring a unit’s authority and responsibility from one commander to another.  Lt. Col. Leslie Woll, 605th Test and Evaluation Squadron commander, presided over the ceremony.

“Lt. Col. Seifert brought the detachment his depth of expertise in the JSTARS [Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System] and is leaving a legacy of trailblazing to the future.  We wish him the best of luck in his future,” said Woll.  “Lt. Col. Seamans has many challenges in front of him, including the uncertainty of an evolving mission.  He came to the detachment highly regarded by those around him and there is no doubt he is up to the task.”

Before Seamans accepted the guidon and command, Seifert shared, “It was an absolute honor to command such a gifted group of individuals.  My time here as director of operations and commander has been the most enjoyable years of my Air Force career.”

Seifert continued, “The detachment is undergoing the biggest changes in its history.  We are working through the divestiture of the E-8C and are shifting from a flying test unit to one that tests and evaluates ground-based systems.  I have full confidence that the supremely talented people in this organization will excel in embracing our new diverse command and control mission portfolios.”

As the commander, Seamans will manage operational test and evaluation for a suite of ground based C2 programs across the U.S. Air Force. Under his leadership, the detachment will analyze combatant command support requirements and other system evaluations as required by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Headquarters Air Combat Command, Secretary of the Air Force Acquisition and 505th Command and Control Wing.

Prior to his current assignment, Seamans was the director of operations for the 12th Airborne Command and Control Squadron at Robins AFB, Georgia.  Lt. Col. Seifert will transition to the 461st Air Control Wing to assist with their transition to a new command and control mission.

Seamans began by thanking his family and friends. Next, he took a moment to address the men and women newly under his command.

“Taking command of Detachment 2 is an honor and will undoubtedly be the culminating point of my military career.  I look forward to working with and for my Airmen as we transition Detachment 2 away from E-8C JSTARS testing. We begin working on the future of battle management by integrating new technologies to ensure the Air Force warfighter is equipped with the most advanced command and control systems, should they be needed,” said Seamans. 

605th TES, Det. 2 is one of three detachments and an operating locations assigned to the 605th TES, and a subordinate unit of the 505th Test and Training Group and 505th Command and Control Wing, headquartered on Hurlburt Field, Florida.