413th FTG welcomes new commander

  • Published
  • By Jamal D. Sutter
  • 413th Flight Test Group Public Affairs
Col. Christopher M. Zidek assumed command of the 413th Flight Test Group during a ceremony at the Museum of Aviation here June 8.

His tenure as commander follows the departure of Col. John R. Nowak, who retired in October 2017. Prior to this assignment, Zidek was the deputy division chief for the Joint Staff’s Violent Extremist Organization Team at the Pentagon.

Brig. Gen. Steven B. Parker, 22nd Air Force vice commander, presided over the ceremony and spoke about Zidek’s new leadership role.

“You’ve got the responsibility of a group commander, but you also gain the experience that a lot of wing commanders gain,” Parker said. “The financial management piece, the personnel piece, running the staff—it’s just a great opportunity, so we’re expecting a lot of goodness while you’re here.”

Zidek is no stranger to the 413th FTG. He previously served as the unit’s chief of safety from 2010 to 2012. After taking command, he addressed the Reserve Citizen Airmen he’ll be leading.

“At the end of the day, people are our most important resource, and that means taking exceptional care of you and your families every day,” Zidek said. “Stay focused on the mission; I will stay focused on you.”

Zidek is a master navigator with more than 2,500 flying hours in the KC-135R and has served in a variety of flying units in the Air Force and Air Force Reserve. Comprised of seven geographically separated units flying 15 distinct mission design series aircraft, the goal of the 413th FTG is to return mission-ready aircraft to front-line combat and flying training units after depot maintenance is performed.