Col. Christopher M. Zidek Assumes Command of the 413th FTG

Chris Zidek was born at the Coronado Hospital in 1971. His family had lived in Coronado since 1967. Chris finished the 8th grade at Sacred Heart Parish School and then in 1986 his family moved to Hawaii where he graduated from St. Louis School, an all boys private Catholic Marianist School founded in 1846 to serve the needs of early Hawaiians in the former Kingdom of Hawaii. Chris then graduated from San Diego State University and entered the USAF thru the ROTC program. Chris recently assumed command of the 413th Flight Test Group at Robins AFB in Georgia.

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. – 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.

Col. Christopher Zidek, right, assumes command of the 413th Flight Test Group as he receives the unit guidon from Brig. Gen. Steven Parker during a ceremony at the Museum of Aviation, Robins Air Force Base, Ga., June 8, 2018. Prior to this assignment, Zidek was the deputy division chief for the Joint Staff’s Violent Extremist Organization Team at the Pentagon. Parker is the deputy commander of the 22nd Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jamal D. Sutter)

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.”

Col. Christopher Zidek and his wife Kate

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.

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Originally from upstate New York, Dani Schwartz has lived in Coronado since 1996. She is thrilled to call Coronado home and raise her two children here. In her free time enjoys hitting the gym, reading, and walking her dog around the “island.”Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: manager@coronadotimes.com