Jeremy Wimer never asks for the spotlight, but he always ends up in it — from being a star high school football player and wrestler to becoming the squadron commander of one of the busiest airfields in the nation.
Lt. Col. Wimer, born and raised in Medford, was named Eglin Air Force Base squadron commander in June — a position overseeing 280 people.
The Eglin base manages all airfield operations, including both military and commercial flights, in Eglin, Florida, Wimer said. Wimer oversees the test and evaluation center for Air Force weapons, navigation and guidance systems and equipment used by the Navy and the Army.
"Our mission is to keep the technology at the Air Force as cutting-edge as much as we can,” Wimer said. “You never know what new system is out there.”
His mom, Amy Betcher, said she was surprised by his promotion but believes in his ability.
“Jeremy is always on the shy side. ... He’s never been very charismatic because he’s more technical, working with the machines,” Betcher said. “But going through the academy, I have seen him growing so much, and Jeremy is always wanting to learn more.”
Wimer is a tall and fit man with a soft voice. He speaks straightforwardly but humbly about his accomplishments.
“I’m very involved in sports — football, baseball, wrestling — all four years of my high school,” he said. “But I was OK, not a superstar by any means.”
Wimer graduated from North Medford as a 4.0 student, was named Lineman of the Year in 1996 and made it to the state wrestling tournament in 1997, while staying active with honor clubs and youth groups at church.
In Southern Oregon for his traditional biannual visit, Wimer credited his career accomplishment to the Air Force more than himself.
He joined the Air Force Academy in Colorado after high school, and is starting 16 years of service.
“It was a tough place to go through, but it was very rewarding,” Wimer said, recalling his days in the academy. “It was a first-class education and experience I got to have there. There are also many opportunities.”
Those opportunities took Wimer from an officer, to a testing pilot, to his current position as commander.
“I just take one day at a time,” Wimer said. “Every time I think of leaving for a civilian life, I found another thing I love about the Air Force, and it made me want to continue.”
Wimer is married with two children. His wife of 15 years, Renee, is leading a support group at the base called the Key Spouse program. The Wimers have moved 12 times during his career, Wimer said, but his wife has adapted to it.
"It's toughest when I was deployed," Wimer said. "You definitely need a strong support system, and they really are just that."
Taking on the new leadership role at the base, Wimer said his goal is to enhance the Air Force’s mission and productivity.
“We are always under pressure to counter whatever emerging threats are out there,” Wimer said. “And we always need to find more efficient ways to do things. It’s always a struggle to balance readiness with efficiency and being a good steward of all the resources.”
Wimer said he hopes to continue serving the Air Force in years to come — and, with more training and experience, at the Pentagon.
Betcher said her son has the self-discipline that turns his hopes and dreams into reality.
"Jeremy is so driven to be good at whatever he tries to do," she said. "He's always wanting to learn more and do the right thing."
— Reach reporting intern Tran Nguyen at 541-776-4485 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.