62nd Airlift Wing commander says farewell

  • Published
  • By Col. Wyn Elder
  • 62nd Airlift Wing commander
 It has truly been an honor and a privilege to serve as the 62nd Airlift Wing commander over the past two years. The time has gone by remarkably fast, and I can honestly say this has been the best experience of my Air Force career. As I look back at my time at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, I am left with a profound sense of gratitude toward all of you that made this assignment special.

To our community partners, honorary commanders and civic leaders; thank you very much for the support you constantly and selflessly give to the servicemembers stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. I was consistently overwhelmed with the generosity you showed by organizing community events, attending unit and base functions and simply being there for our troops and their families. Our jobs often take us far from home, so it is very reassuring to know that our families are surrounded by such a tight-knit community when we are away. There is a reason why this is such a sought after assignment, and it's not just because of the weather. It's because you have made this a very special place for us and our families to live.

I would also like to thank Lt. Gen. Robert Brown, Col. Charles Hodges, Col. Valerie Hasberry and our joint base partners. Your friendship and commitment to the Airmen of Team McChord has been incredible. Patience, cooperation and communication are critical to the success of any joint base, and that is exactly what you provided. I am honored to have commanded alongside you and I am proud of the challenges we overcame. Together, we have made Joint Base Lewis-McChord the model for joint basing throughout the Department of Defense, and for that, I thank you.

To Col. Bruce Bowers and our Reserve partners in the 446th Airlift Wing, it has been an absolute pleasure working with and learning from you. When we go to combat, we go as a team and there's no one I'd rather go with than the 446th! Nearly half of the missions leaving McChord Field are flown by Reservists, and your professionalism and commitment to the mission has been invaluable. Whether it meant coming together during the 2012 Operational Readiness Inspection, working side-by-side during Operation Deep Freeze, or partnering during historic ops surges and flying hour cuts, I believe we have the best relationship between any active duty and Reserve wing in Air Mobility Command, and it's not by accident. You truly embody the one-team, one-fight mantra, and I humbly thank you for your support.

Finally, to the men and women of the 62nd Airlift Wing, it has been an absolute pleasure to serve as your wing commander. Our nation asks so much of you and you always deliver outstanding results. Some of you may remember that at my change of command ceremony back in 2011, I had a simple message: WHAT YOU DO MATTERS. After serving with you for the past 25 months, I firmly believe that message is even more important today than it was when I first said it. It matters every time you help generate or operate a McChord C-17 that airlifts precious cargo and troops to the frontlines in Afghanistan. It matters when you medevac injured Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen from the battlefield to life-saving care. It matters when you provide all the logistical, medical and operational support required to produce combat airlift. It matters when we come together and succeed in inspection after inspection. It matters that we strengthen the credibility of our nation's strategic nuclear deterrence posture. And it matters when you do the right thing, are a good Wingman and watch out for fellow Airmen. I could not be more proud of all of you, and I know that under Col. David Kumashiro's leadership you will continue to answer the call and deliver Airlift Excellence...Right Here, Right Now!