Wing commander bids farewell to Patriot Wing

WESTOVER AIR RESERVE BASE, Mass. -- Almost 14 months ago, Chantel and I sealed up our last box as we hit the road to move to New England. And after a tour at the Pentagon, we were excited to have the opportunity to lead this command’s premier wing. It's been a shorter tour than we'd hoped for. What a tour it's been. Westover has been everything we'd heard about and more. After settling into our house in Chicopee, I no sooner took command of the 439th than when I began overseeing the hard work involved on the part of our deployers and our Airmen and civilians who out-process them in line with our core mission of being combat-ready Airmen. More than 250 of our Airmen went out the door to deployments across the globe. True to this wing’s reputation, these men and women became shining examples of today’s Air Force Reserve. At one Southwest Asia base, our wing deployed more than a dozen Air Force career fields. From the aerial porters hoisting all things cargo onto a never-ending stream of airplanes in the theater, to our services Airmen helping keep morale high, our reservists once again showed the active-duty Air Force the kind of quality counterparts we are... winners! Westover Airmen were recognized as key contributors for winning the Air Combat Command’s large port terminal operations of the year as well as some historian awards. Back home, we faced continuing budget uncertainty, all while still keeping our flying mission going despite a shrinking and aging fleet of C-5s. We dealt with continuing resolutions, reduced staffing, and reduced hours. Some sections have had to close at least partially each day to keep up with the workload. But as we bravely faced all these challenges, our wing continued to stack up more awards. From the fire department’s spirited mutual aid expertise, to our 439th Contingency Response Flight, it's clear there's lots to be proud of here. I'm proud to have led you. It's been an honor and a privilege. The 439th will soon have eight refurbished C-5M Super Galaxies on our flight line. The quieter and more powerful engines will enable our fleet of C-5s to continue its unmatched worldwide airlift capability well into this 21st century. It'll soon be time to pack that last box as we head back to D.C. and to the Pentagon, where I'll take over from my predecessor, Brig. Gen. Al Lupenski, as Director of Air Force Reserve Programs and Requirements. Chantel and I will never forget this wing for its professionalism, integrity, and resiliency. We hear the latter word in Air Force-speak a lot, but it really does apply here, because you come out here and get the mission done all through New England's four seasons. Reservists who train here come from 32 different states. Among them, they're signing in for UTAs from as far away as California and Oregon. It's the people that have made this experience like no other in my Air Force career. You are extraordinary patriots serving our country in uncertain times. We're witnessing a turnstile of world situations. Chantel and I wish you and your loved ones the very best in your careers. Stay strong and stay healthy; your country is depending on you to continue being the professionals you are. Thank you and take care of yourselves!