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Exciting times

  • Published
  • By Col. Lenny Richoux
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing commander
We are in the middle of exciting times here at MacDill AFB.

The school year had a great start and I want to tell you about a program that supports our local schools. The Impact Aid Program provides federal reimbursement for every military-connected student enrolled in our local schools. Please fill out the cards the schools are sending home this month so that the school districts get an accurate account of military students by Oct 10. Impact Aid is an important source of funding for our military students, and they deserve it.

Last week, we kicked off the base recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month, which is Sept. 15 through Oct. 15, and I want to highlight a few star performers on the committee responsible for base awareness for this culturally significant observance. Master Sgt. Jesse Lopez and Staff Sgt. Pedro Morales have the committee responsible for planning and carrying out various events.

We had a Hispanic Heritage food-tasting event with a mariachi band Thursday at the chapel annex. Thanks to Staff Sgt. Peter Flores for organizing the gathering.
Each year, we observe National Hispanic Heritage Month by celebrating rich Hispanic cultures, contribution and history. The committee has planned the Hispanic Heritage 5k run for Sept. 23, and local historian, Dr. Wallace Reyes will be the guest speaker for the observance luncheon scheduled on Oct. 14 at 11:00 a.m., Surf's Edge Club.

We've had plenty of reasons to celebrate recently. The Air Force celebrated its 64th birthday, Sept. 18, and I want to extend gratitude to Lt. Col. Michael Carney, Maj. Alex Fafinski, The Tony Jannus Chapter of the Airlift/Tanker Association and the Air Force Ball Committee for making last week's Air Force Birthday Ball a huge success. Over 600 of you attended the awesome celebration of Air Force tradition at the Tampa Convention Center, Saturday. Thanks to all of our military and civilian attendees which included many of our local community leaders who also made up a cross-section of 6th Air Mobility Wing's recently inducted Honorary Commanders and Command Advisory Council.

Thirty-nine community leaders and Tampa Bay neighbors, who partner with the base to sustain our relationship with this great community were inducted in the ceremony last weekend. Mr. Terry Montrose, Staff Sgt. Angela Ruiz, Senior Airman Robert Waggoner, Senior Airman Rachelle Coleman and Airman 1st Class Michael Ellis were instrumental in making the ceremony a success. There's no doubt we'll experience a fruitful relationship with our Honorary Commanders and community leaders.

Another leadership change I want to recognize is the change in the 6th AMW higher headquarters leadership. Congratulations to Lt. Gen. (sel) Mark Ramsay the new commander of 18th Air Force, as Lt. Gen. Robert Allardice becomes the vice commander of Air Mobility Command. We look forward to his command and deeply appreciate the guidance we've received and will continue to receive from General Allardice.

On to another congratulations for recently selected leaders--6th Mission Support Group had two outstanding Airmen chosen to attend Officer Training School. Staff Sgt. Alexander Shivers and Senior Airman Kyle Bradford were selected among many in a highly competitive program.
The 91st Air Refueling Squadron's 1st Lieutenant Joe Pierce distinguished himself by doing outstanding work as a mission planner for the 2011 RED FLAG Alaska exercise. Pierce expertly planned more than ten air refueling missions a day over the two week period he was there. His dedication and hard work were essential to the success of the exercise as a whole.

6th Operations Support Squadron's Tech. Sgt. Christopher Parente, NCOIC of Combat Crew Communications, supported his office by sustaining normal operations during a critical low-manning period. He coordinated with his in-counterparts on communication security issues that needed special attention to support deployed warfighters. He also worked with his career field functional manager to fix deficiencies throughout the AOR and career field.

I am proud to serve with you in the finest Air Mobility Wing on the face of the planet!