November 18, 2009 Edition

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Mitch Whitmire named
new airport manager



Walnut Ridge Regional Airport Commissioners Frank Wilson (from left), Hal Lady, Dr. Ralph Joseph and Commission Chairman Dan Coker examine Mitch Whitmire's resume at a special meeting held on Monday morning to hire a new airport manager.
Gloria Wilkerson
Staff Writer

On Monday, the Walnut Ridge Regional Airport Commission met and voted unanimously to hire Mitch Whitmire of Smithville as the new airport manager. Whitmire will begin his duties on Dec. l. The $25,000 introductory salary will be reevaluated at the end of a six-month probationary period.

Following his resignation as airport manager for the past 11 years, Ken Newcom will be on vacation from Dec. l until his resignation takes effect on Jan. 2, 2010.

Whitmire is a 1988 graduate of Hoxie High School. He joined the Arkansas National Guard in 1987 while still attending high school, and went into active duty with the Army after graduation.

He took part in the National Fire Emergency in northern Idaho in 1990 as part of an active duty mobilized force. He served in the Persian Gulf War in 1991, where he was part of the initial ground invasion of Kuwait and Iraq with the famed "Big Red One," the 1st Infantry Division.

After returning to the United States, he graduated from Black River Technical College with an associate's degree in 1995. He then enrolled at Arkansas State University and joined the ROTC program. He graduated from ASU in 1997 with a bachelor's degree and received a commission as a logistics officer in the U.S. Army.

He has graduated several advance schools and is an air assault and airborne paratrooper. He completed a second combat tour in 2004 as a U.S. Army Commander in the Middle East where he was part of Operation Iraqi Freedom 2. He received the Bronze Star and was cited for his actions and leadership that saved several lives. Whitmire came off active duty in 2005 and rejoined the Reserves.

He joined the Kansas City Southern Railroad in 2006 as director of international logistics and was featured in two magazines because of his success. He rose to the title of general manager of locomotive operations in 2008, and retired as a captain from the Louisiana National Guard in February.

Whitmire recently moved back to Arkansas with his wife, Kristy, and their six children. He is the son of Sue Whitmire of Walnut Ridge and the late Buddy Whitmire.

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