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What you do for our nation is priceless

  • Published
  • By Col. Lenny Richoux
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing commander
Last I week I attended Phoenix Rally, a conference of Air Mobility Command wing commanders, hosted by General Ray Johns, Commander of Air Force Air Mobility Command.

We discussed and decided several issues that directly impact every Airman, Soldier, Sailor, Marine, Coastguardsman, active, guard, reserve, civilian, and dependent on MacDill or in Tampa. Some of the key decisions dealt with base food service initiatives, military construction, mental and physical fitness, and smoothing of our operational tempo. Air Mobility Command is in tune with the needs of our 39 partner units made up of 12,000-plus great Americans. I am proud to represent you.

The 6th Air Mobility Wing and 927th Air Refueling Wing completed a national exercise this week. We demonstrated our ability to posture, respond, and deploy in response to emerging global crises. Our Airmen continue to perform incredibly well in response to Combatant Commander taskings. You showed it this past weekend as you pulled 24-hour operations at your deployed location. Congratulations and thank you.

Operationally, our command continues to be heavily deployed in support of operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. Last week, we reported 436 of our 6th Air Mobility Wing Airmen deployed. Most of these come from our Security Forces, Logistics Readiness, and Air Refueling Squadrons. Thank you for your service.

As we approach our big AirFest weekend on Nov. 5 and 6, I want to thank you in advance. Air shows are tough work but they are very important. They are one of the primary means that our military demonstrates its readiness to its citizens. For MacDill, it's one way that we thank the community by opening the gates for a couple of days and showing the American public what we do and how we do it. It will take nearly half of the entire Wing, some 1,500 Airmen and other volunteers, to support AirFest 2011. It will be an amazing experience and I hope all get a chance to come out and enjoy.

I want to give a hearty thanks to 6th AMW Command Chief, Chief Master Sgt. Derrick Crowley, for the job he has done leading the Wing and being one of the reasons we are the "finest Air Mobility Wing on the planet" as he retires. We also wish his wife Janice and daughter Derricka the best as they prepare as a family for the transition into retirement, and I want to thank them for the support they've given all of us. Chief, you've left a legacy of outstanding leadership on this base and will be missed. We are better because of you.

Speaking of leadership, I'd like to welcome the new 18th Air Force leadership, 18th Air Force Commander, Lt. Gen. Mark Ramsay and Command Chief, Chief Master Sgt. Jeffrey Williams as they visit our base. It's great to host them and introduce them to many of you. Thanks to all of you who are working to make their visit productive and successful.

We also recently received some excellent news from AMC leaders this week on one of our own here in the Wing. Congratulations to 6th Civil Engineering Squadron's Master Sgt. Unhye Zipay, for winning the Air Mobility Command Senior Military Airmen Dorm Leader, annual award for this fiscal year.

Additionally, we heard about another star performer. Demonstrating great on-the-spot decision making was 91st Air Refueling Squadron's Capt. Joshua Carter who was recently on his way to Eielson Air Force Base to join Coronet West 412 which moved F-16s from Elmendorf AFB back to home station. During his take-off roll, he and his crew, 1st Lt. Aaron Parsons and Staff Sgt. Kris Echols, experienced a birdstrike to the number two engine. The crew felt the engine momentarily decelerate. Rather than make this potentially dangerous situation worse, the crew used outstanding airmanship and safely slowed the aircraft within the remaining runway path. An inspection of the aircraft following the abort revealed no damage to the brakes or tires.

You are the finest Air Mobility Wing on the face of the planet, supporting MacDill's 5,700 acres and vast array of mission sets! Thank you!