Central grad tapped for brigadier general

High 43, Low 16

Air Force Col. David Been

No matter how high in rank Air Force Col. David Been gets, his Grand Junction mother still won’t salute him.

That may have to change, though, when the U.S. Senate confirms this year’s list of Air Force colonels nominated by President Barack Obama for promotion to brigadier general, as is about to happen for the 1983 Central High School graduate.

“He always sought to be a leader,” his mom, Ann, said. “I remember when we first moved to Grand Junction in 1979 or 80, and as a junior he ran for president of the student body, and he wasn’t even known.”

After graduating from high school in Grand Junction, Been was an ROTC student at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, where got a degree in political science in 1987.

Later that same year, the Air Force sent him to navigator training at Mather Air Force Base in California, where he trained on various bombers.

In the years since, he gradually rose in rank, eventually earning a master’s degree in aerospace science technology at Embry Riddle University in Arizona. During his career, he has flown more than 1,200 combat hours in B-1 bombers over Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq, and he has more than 4,000 flight hours overall.

It was Been’s plane that conducted touch-and-go landings in a B-1 at Grand Junction Regional Airport back in 2007.

He has been stationed at bases across the world, including a bombing wing in southwest Asia and the Allied Forces Headquarters in the Netherlands.

Now, he’s commander of the 7th Bomb Wing and installation commander of Dyess Air Force Base outside of Abilene, Texas.

“Being raised in Colorado, you always had a different perception of Texans, especially after the Cowboys spanked the Broncos so bad in the Super Bowl in ‘78,” the 49-year-old said from his home there. “But no, man. Texans are pretty patriotic, and Abilene, they just go over the top in supporting their military. It’s a lot different than what you hear growing up as a kid.”

Been’s current duty assignment ends in July, and he’s not sure where he will be posted next after his promotion comes through, but he suspects it might be at the Pentagon.

When he gets that first star, though, Been doesn’t expect his father, Paul and two of his three siblings who also served in the Air Force to salute him when he comes home to visit.

“Naw,” Been said. “Mom’s more likely to make me clean the house.”


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