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Many thanks for support; some standouts

  • Published
  • By Col. Lenny Richoux
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing commander
I want to start out by thanking everyone for their phenomenal support of AirFest 2011. We stopped counting at 150,000 attendees! I saw lots of happy moms, dads, and children. Thanks to all of Team MacDill for putting on a great show for the people of Tampa. This was our way of saying "thank you." From the aircraft displays to the combat capabilities demonstrations inside Hangar 3, to the incredible performances of the fabulous U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, B-1 Bomber, and all of the demonstrations, we knocked it out of the park! I am also pleased to announce all of the private organizations were able to raise funds for the long term. Thanks to all who volunteered or attended. A safe and successful air show is not taken for granted.

The Wing welcomed the Brazilian Air Force's newest officer candidates this week. The Brazilians spend eight years enlisted and then attend two years of officer training, all after having earned a Bachelor's degree, before officer commissioning. I want to thank USCENTCOM for inviting them to MacDill and to the Mission Support Group, Maintenance Group, and Operations Group for the superb capabilities demonstrations.

Today, many of you supported Hillsborough County's Great American Teach-In. As you know, supporting families is a precursor to mission accomplishment. The Wing received 50 requests for guest speakers and you all stepped up. Thank you for supporting Hillsborough County Public Schools.

I also had the privilege to ride along with Sheriff David Gee this week. Hillsborough County public services work hand in hand with MacDill's first responders. I am thankful for the close relationship we share and for the time Sheriff Gee spent with me on the roads in Tampa. It was a great experience.

Also, last week I travelled to Kansas to pick up one of our KC-135s that recently completed its part in Operation Unified Protector in Moron, Spain. It's good to have most of our tankers and operators back to enjoy some R&R.

I hope many of you are able to attend the Thanksgiving Dinner in Brandon at 6 p.m. tonight. It will be held at the Brandon Elks Lodge and is part of our ongoing activities to support deployed spouses from all branches of the service.

Special shout out to Tech. Sgt. Cyril Castleberry Jr. with the 6th Operations Support Squadron. Since October 2009 he has led the 6th OSS Aircrew Flight Equipment Building 6 facility renovation project. This $2.5 million project, which was completed Oct. 31, consolidates all active duty and reserve AFE operations under one roof. During 18th Air Force Commander Lt. Gen. Mark Ramsay's recent visit, he presented a commander's coin to Castleberry for his hard work and dedication.

A group that helped make AirFest a success this year is the 6th Force Support Squadron AirFest Team. This team of dedicated military and civilian members spearheaded efforts to provide support for food and beverage, tent and chalet set up, trash details, kid zone and lost child booths, golf cart fleet, sponsorship booths and displays, and resource management. Their critical assistance provided the necessary support to minimize cost to the installation and maximize profits for the 50 private organizations working the event and staffed by more than 600 volunteers. Additional profits will go into the installation MWR Fund to improve quality of life programs for the MacDill Community.

Thank you team MacDill for another great week in Tampa!