For many years, Colonel Omelchenko commanded the 237th Center for Demonstrating Aviation Systems named for I. N. Kozhedub in Kubinka. In other words, he ran the home base for Russia’s Vityazi and Strizhi flight teams that fly over the Kremlin in Victory Day parades and perform at air shows.
In mid-2008, Omelchenko became deputy commander of the 32nd Air Defense Corps at Rzhev, Tver Oblast. The 32nd was part of central Russia’s air defenses known as the Special Designation Command (and before that as the Moscow Air Defense District).
With the advent of the ‘new profile,’ Omelchenko became commander of the new 6th Air-Space Defense Brigade (and of the Rzhev garrison as well). It is one of the country’s 13 new air-space defense (VKO) brigades and likely part of the Operational-Strategic Command of Air-Space Defense (OSK VKO) that replaced the old Special Designation Command.
In late December, the local Veche Tveri paper reported that the region’s governor, other officials, and military commanders had met to discuss coordination and cooperation in the ‘social sphere,’ i.e. housing, communal services, and employment. The military representatives were primarily VVS and RVSN officers based on what forces call Tver Oblast home and Omelchenko spoke at length in the meeting.
The Defense Ministry has bought 425 apartments in Tver and is considering 705 more. A civilian official reported on rising unemployment in parts of the oblast. Then Omelchenko noted that, in the transition to the ‘new profile,’ 4 units were disbanded and 10 units and sub-units were reformed in the process of creating his brigade. In all, 957 military personnel (557 officers, 180 warrants, 220 sergeants and soldiers) and more than 300 civilian workers were subject to ‘org-shtat measures.’ As of 19 December, 31 officers and 15 warrants were dismissed. All warrant billets were abolished and their duties given over to sergeants, and 40 officers and 33 warrants were put into sergeant posts.
Omelchenko said units at Andreapol and Bezhetsk were particularly affected. More than 300 servicemen from the former went to the air base at Kursk and other units. Its aviation-technical base and independent comms battalion became a komendatura–more than 200 servicemen and 65 civilians were transferred to it, Kursk, or other units. Its automated C2 center was downgraded and 155 civilians were let go. Sovetskaya Rossiya published a good account of the angst at Andreapol as its 28th Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment disbanded in favor of the 14th Fighter Aviation Regiment at Kursk.
The situation at Bezhetsk was much the same. Its unit sent 284 servicemen to the air base at Khotilovo and other units. Two hundred servicemen and 65 civilians from the tech base and comms battalion became a komendatura, went to Khotilovo, or other units. Its understrength radar battalion became an independent company. And nearly 150 civilians were dismissed.
Omelchenko noted that the growth in the closed military town of Khotilovo-2 due to its regiment’s change into an air base has strained the housing situation. The command is unable to provide housing for servicemen according to legal norms. Two hundred to 250 apartments are needed. Khotilovo doesn’t have enough jobs for military wives and nearly 200 jobs are needed for women with specialized training or technical education. They might be found in Vyshnyaya Volochka, but there’s no public transportation. Khotilovo’s ancient kindergarten has only 40 spots and probably 90 are needed.
Omelchenko’s life was probably easier in Kubinka.