Colonel Anthony Davit fell in love with airplanes as a young boy after his grandfather took him to an air show. He knew then that when he grew up, he wanted to be a pilot in the U.S. Air Force.
After he graduated from Purdue University with a bachelors degree in civil engineering, the Indiana native headed to pilot training at Reese Air Force Base, Texas. But after one month, doctors made a discovery that put Davit on a different path.
Doctors diagnosed Davit with an obscure disease called choriodal osteoma, which distorted the vision in his left eye. Davit said he hoped surgery would repair it, but his eyesight never fully recovered. The Air Force allowed him to stay in the service, but it medically discharged him from pilot training.
Now, as the new deputy commander of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Davit emphasizes a different kind of vision one that promotes the partnership of a joint base endeavor representing the best practices of Army and Air Force.
Thats because Davit not only serves as JBLMs deputy commander, he also commands the 627th Air Base Group, an Air Force unit comprised of active military squadrons that perform installation support services. About 85 percent of the Airmen of the 627th ABG are embedded in the Army organizational structure to provide base support, working in public works, fire and emergency services, environmental protection and facility maintenance.
Im looking forward to the challenge of moving the base to the next level across the spectrum of installation support, Davit said. There are lessons to be learned from both sides of the house.
He cited Air Force installation management practices and the robust personnel programs of the Army as two examples of how each service could learn from the other.
Davits past assignments have prepared him well for his responsibilities at JBLM. He has commanded two Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair squadrons, heavy construction units that support military operations across the globe. Davit deployed seven times to Iraq and Afghanistan, working in a joint environment with the Army each time. He also served in El Salvador, Bosnia and Italy, and was involved in clean-up efforts after Hurricane Andrew a Category 5 storm struck Florida in 1992.
Ive had a great career as an engineer, Davit said.
Since Davit took command of the 627th ABG on Aug. 5, he has been learning about the installation, attending community events and getting acquainted with the JBLM commander, Col. H. Charles Hodges Jr. Theyve discovered they have many things in common.
We both have daughters who are 16, so we can talk about that, Davit said with a smile. But we also see eye to eye on the way forward for this joint base.