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Brig. Gen. Donald “DK” Carpenter was joined by family, friends and colleagues June 1, 2023, in the main hangar at the 182nd Airlift Wing in Peoria, Illinois, to celebrate his promotion to major general and selection as the Director of Logistics and Sustainment for the F-35 Lightening program at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.
Lt. Gen. Michael A. Loh, Director of the Air National Guard, presided over Carpenter’s promotion ceremony.
“It’s a Guard celebration! Is this a great day, or what?” said Loh. “DK’s done just about everything you can do in the state. He has led Airmen multiple times and has gone to combat multiple times, twice to Bagram, as a squadron commander, which is where our paths first crossed.”
Loh said he needed a leader at the National Guard Bureau that could push his staff to the next level, so he invited Carpenter to work for him in the National Capital Region. Loh said Carpenter was instrumental in the success of Air National Guard logistics at the national level, and given the success that Carpenter had as the lead logistician at the national level, he was a natural fit for the “toughest job that a maintenance officer could get.”
“He’ll be managing global logistics for the F-35 program,” said Loh. “The DoD’s most expensive fighter program with 16 international partners that covers three services. I can think of no better general officer to lead the F-35 sustainment center than DK Carpenter.”
Carpenter said he attributed his success to those he worked with and leaders that showed him what to do, and some, what not to do to be successful. Carpenter said he hopes to bring the knowledge he’s gained from his time at NGB and his training as a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt to increase the sustainability across all components for the F-35 program.
“It’s a new adventure,” said Carpenter. “It’s more the business side of the Air Force versus the operational side. I’ve got a great team out there ready to get after the mission. We want to better logistical sustainment for the F-35 for the next fight.”
Carpenter thanked Loh for the opportunity to lead the F-35 sustainment program, and thanked his wife, Dana, and his family for supporting him throughout his career. Carpenter said while he loved his time at NGB, he was glad to be “back home” for his next assignment.