Army & Air Force Exchange Service welcomes new Pacific Region Commander

Col. (Select) Michael A. Kovalchek
Col. (Select) Michael A. Kovalchek

Army & Air Force Exchange Service welcomes new Pacific Region Commander

by Staff Sgt. Mark A. Kauffman
Army & Air Force Exchange Service Public Affairs

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — The Army & Air Force Exchange Service welcomed Air Force Col. (Select) Michael A. Kovalchek as the new commander for its Pacific Region.

Kovalchek will serve as the bridge between the Exchange team and the military community, their families and retirees.

“I am most excited about joining the Exchange team because of what they do for our service members and their families every day,” Kovalchek said. “In all of my assignments and deployments, both oversees and in the U.S., I have always had access to merchandise, food and entertainment provided through the Exchange, which has been a big morale booster.”

Kovalchek has served more than 21 years in the Air Force with multiple moves worldwide with his family. He grew up in Bradenton, Fla., south of Tampa. He went to college at the University of South Florida and was commissioned through Air Force Officer Training School at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Ala., in 2000.

His first three assignments in the Air Force were as a chemist, and he was previously stationed in Okinawa.

“This will be my second tour in Okinawa; previously I was the Analytical Division Chief for the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine on Kadena from 2005 to 2009,” Kovalchek said. “I was largely responsible for environmental and industrial hygiene water and solid analysis for the Pacific Air Force and assisted with analysis for multiple sister services in the Pacific Command.”

He has deployed twice, serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In his last assignment, he was the commander of the 332d Recruiting Squadron in Nashville, Tenn. Kovalchek’s team consisted of 40 recruiting offices, which covered 92,000 square miles throughout eight states in the Midwest and South that brought in more than 1,400 new Airmen yearly.

“Recruiting is always a tough assignment but has many rewards,” Kovalchek said. “Knowing that we are giving young Americans an opportunity to realize their God-given dreams, change their lives and serve their country, made the job incredibly rewarding.”

Kovalchek’s goals during his command here the Exchange is to further empower and support teammates as they continue to serve military members and their families.

“COVID has given us a turbulent 20 months, and this is especially true for our teammates overseas,” Kovalchek said. “I am ready to jump in to do anything I can to help our team continue to serve the best customers in the world.”

Kovalchek has been selected for promotion to the rank of colonel with the estimated date of Feb. 1, 2022.

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