Col. Charles Sherwin Jr. retires after 25 years

  • Published
  • By Mike W. Ray
  • Tinker Public Affairs
Having spent half of his life in military service, "It's time to retire," said Col. Charles B. Sherwin Jr., chief, System Program Manager, B-1 Sustainment Division, Aerospace Sustainment Directorate, Tinker AFB.

The colonel will be honored at a retirement ceremony scheduled for 10:10 a.m. today in the Tinker Chapel, preceded by a chapel service at 9 a.m.

As the B-1 System Program Manager, Colonel Sherwin has been the officer of primary responsibility for all B-1 related matters, including life cycle management, systems engineering, operational logistics support, engineering sustainment, operational logistics support, programmed depot maintenance, modification management and upgrades.

He has held that position for almost three years; he assumed command of the 427th Group in July 2009, directing 130 personnel.

"When I came aboard I told my team that we would be world class in systems engineering, life cycle management, and program management," the colonel said. That goal was achieved.

The B-1 System Program Office at Tinker won the 2011 Dr. James G. Roche Sustainment Excellence Award. The award, named for a retired Secretary of the Air Force, recognizes the AFMC Aircraft Program Management Office that demonstrates the most improved performance in fleet sustainment for a given fiscal year.

The B-1 SPO's leadership and management "enabled significant improvements" in mission capability, the award citation reads. Among other things, the B-1 aircraft availability rate increased by 10 percent over the previous fiscal year, to its highest AA rate over the last four fiscal years.

The B-1 is "an awesome piece of military machinery" that has "demonstrated its agility, stood the test of time," and has "outperformed all weapons systems in the AOR," Colonel Sherwin said.

Receiving the Roche Award was the highlight of his 25-year military career, he said.
Another notable achievement was "taking the F-22 Raptor air superiority jet fighter to its first flight" in 1997 while at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.

During the three and a half years he was stationed at Wright-Patterson, then-Captain Sherwin met then-Capt. Cedric George; Colonel George is now the commander of the 76th Maintenance Wing at Tinker AFB. While in the F-22 SPO, Captain Sherwin also worked alongside a grandson of legendary Green Bay Packers football coach Vince Lombardi. "That's the caliber and legacy of people who worked in that high-performance System Program Office back then," Colonel Sherwin said.

Also during his Air Force career, Colonel Sherwin worked in the Pentagon for two and one-half years; spent three years in Europe with HQ USEUCOM, planning logistics and executing operations for military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan; was an aircraft maintenance officer at MacDill AFB, Fla.; was an electronic engineer at Edwards AFB, Calif.; and served at Eglin AFB, Fla., delivering air armament capability to combatant commanders.

He also spent a year with Eastman Kodak in Rochester, N.Y., as an Education With Industry student.

"I've been blessed, in both my military career and in my personal life," Colonel Sherwin said.

He married Lisa Kollner of Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1997, and she has "followed me around the world," the colonel said. "She's not only a great wife and confidant, she's an awesome mother, too." The couple has five children: four daughters and a son.

The colonel is a devoted husband and father. Although he retires from the Air Force today, he took last week off to spend time with his children on their spring break.

Colonel Sherwin is steadfast in his faith and spiritual commitment to AFMC's Wellness program, too. He credits "divine intervention" for his personal and professional success, and contends his role as a Christian has been validated by his job as a warrior. "If not for our nation's Defense Department and its preservation of our freedoms, we would not be able to pursue our faith."

While the newly retired officer undertakes a job search in the panhandle of Florida, his family will remain in Oklahoma until the school term concludes at the end of May. The Sherwins live in Edmond and their children attend St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parochial school in Edmond. They intend to move to Florida this summer.

The colonel was born in the Sunshine State and was reared at Cocoa Beach on "the Space Coast." Perhaps for that reason, "I always wanted to do something having to do with space," he said recently. "I watched every Apollo liftoff and the first space shuttle launch. I saw the Challenger shuttle explosion while I was in college, overlooking the eastern horizon from Orlando."

His parents met at Patrick AFB, Fla., where his mother was a nurse and his father was an acquisition procurement officer. Both retired from the Air Force as junior captains.
The colonel, who turns 50 in October, indicated he will continue his physical fitness regimen after he retires. He participated in the 2000 Ironman triathlon at Panama City, Fla., which entailed swimming 2.4 miles in the Gulf of Mexico, followed by a 112-mile bicycle ride, then running a 26.2-mile marathon. He has participated in many Olympic-distance triathlons, as well as the 2010 and 2011 Redman half-Ironman competitions held in Oklahoma City.

Colonel Sherwin earned a bachelor's degree in engineering from the University of Central Florida; a master's degree in electrical engineering from the University of South Florida; a master's in business administration from Central Michigan University; and a Ph.D.in executive business administration from the Union Institute Graduate School. He also received a master's of military operational art and science from the Air University while attending the Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell AFB, Ala.