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9/11 event a source of great pride; some wing standouts

  • Published
  • By Col. Lenny Richoux
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing commander
Last week marked a decade since the events of Sept. 11, 2001. Friday, I took great pride in the opportunity to come together with fellow patriots in downtown Tampa in honor of 9/11. While there, I spoke of vigilance, courage, and never forgetting the sacrifices our men and women serving the military and our country have made. I watched my speech take human form as I witnessed Chief Warrant Officer Romulo Camargo, a wounded Soldier paralyzed from ambush while serving in Afghanistan, place a wreath on one of the beams pulled from the wreckage of the twin towers. As he crossed the stage in his powered wheelchair, his wife by his side, the audience without cue stood to its feet, swelling with pride, and applauded. I knew in that moment I shared a common bond with everyone present - the American spirit. I am very proud to be an American and to serve alongside each of you.

That same spirit continues to thrive. MacDill Airmen express this spirit through pride in accomplishing the mission. I would like to acknowledge 6th Communications Squadron's Staff Sergeant Ping Chen, who served as the communications NCOIC at Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan. While deployed, his communications support of EOD led to 300 successful counter IED missions. Thank-you for a job well done and welcome home.

The 6th Medical Operations Squadron's Basic Life Support instructors Airmen 1st Class Alicia Clark and Arquilla Price provided expert instruction on cardiopulmonary resuscitation procedures for 11 FBI and special agents. The pride expressed in your mission accomplishment inevitably saves lives.

I had a chance last week to participate in a piece of MacDill history, as the doors at the chapel's newly renovated sanctuary officially opened. The facility has impressive and much needed upgrades; but more importantly the Air Force tradition of fellowship will continue. I want to thank the wing chaplain, Lt. Col. David Buttrick, and chapel staff for supporting our servicemembers, spouses and families with resources like this.

I'd also like to say, Happy Birthday Air Force! Team MacDill carries on the legacy our branch of service was founded upon 64 years ago. The 6th Air Mobility Wing staff agencies provide the support that allows the four groups and 19 squadrons to operate smoothly as a unified fly-fight-and-win force.

Among them are the 6th Medical Group, with an on-base staff of more than 700 military and civilian personnel operating out of 11 facilities, and supporting more than 180,000 clinical and 25,000 dental visits annually.

The 6th Mission Support Group provides engineering, housing, resource/fire protection, disaster preparedness, force protection, C4I, personnel and contract administration, transportation and logistics management, labor relations, lodging, food and recreation services, child care and family support for the 6th AMW, USCENTCOM, USSOCOM, and 36 other tenant units.

The 6th Operations Group provides global aerial refueling and special air missions in direct support of the secretary of defense, combatant commanders, and other senior national and international leaders through the employment of 16 KC-135R/T and three C-37A aircraft and deploy in support of overseas contingency operations on a continual basis.

The 6th Maintenance Group's 600-plus maintenance personnel are directly responsible for aircraft servicing, launch and recovery operations, repair of aircraft discrepancies, and in-depth maintenance of 16 assigned KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft.

Together we are celebrating our 64th anniversary and a proud Air Force heritage this Saturday at the Tampa Convention Center. I do hope many of you will decide to take advantage of this opportunity to take part in a proud tradition.

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