An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Showcase wing Outshines for changes of command

  • Published
  • By Col. Mike Hornitschek
  • Air Mobility Wing commander
After witnessing two change of command ceremonies this past week, I've been reminded of the how incredibly dedicated our team is to Outshining, Outserving and Outperforming! Every Airman, civilian--and even military working dog--performed flawlessly for the historic U.S. Transportation Command event and then followed that up for a true Team Scott effort in support of the 932nd Airlift Wing change of command.

It was a spectacular, if not somewhat blustery, day Oct. 14 as we hosted Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, who presided over the USTRANSCOM change of command. We also welcomed Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey who is our new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. This was Secretary Panetta and Chairman Dempsey's first visit to Scott and they were impressed--they told me so and they look forward to coming back.

We bid a fond farewell to Gen. Duncan McNabb and his wife, Linda, and their entire family for the many years of service and innovative accomplishments that made our Air Force better than when they found it. Theirs is a rich legacy, rooted in supporting the family and young Airmen everywhere. The lived the core values and inspired those they led and interacted with to do a little more ... and be a little bit better. Space does not allow me to list all the vast accomplishments of this remarkable team, but let it be said that they will be sorely missed and their influence in our mission, in our schools and in our families will be felt for many, many years to come. We wish them the best and Godspeed.

In turn, we welcome a new leader, Gen. William Fraser and his wife, Bev. As a seasoned aviator in the B-52, B-1 and B-2 aircraft and extensive wartime, contingency and humanitarian relief operational experience, he is, as Secretary Panetta said, the right person to take the helm of USTRANSCOM. He also said as one superior officer leaves, another of equal talent can pick up where the previous leader left off and continue the mission, which is indicative of the way we train our future leaders. Indeed the nation has placed its trust in the general, and so have we. As a wing, we in turn stand ready to support and enable combat power for USTRANSCOM and other combatant commanders throughout the globe.

I know everyone pitched in across the wing to make this a special and memorable day befitting of the stature of this occasion. Everyone ensured our base looked its very best, but I'd like to emphasize the tremendous efforts by our Logistics Readiness Squadron, Civil Engineer Squadron, and Force Support Squadron teammates who shouldered the bulk of the effort. I lost count of all the many compliments I received on your behalf for the flawless way this team delivered a "Showcase" event.

Everyone worked extremely hard and demonstrated the true meaning of "Service Before Self" because you knew this USTRANSCOM change of command was that important. And it wasn't just the end product you delivered, but how you delivered it with great customer service that had everyone talking. It was leadership at every level that made this project a complete success, and if I were handing out grades at the Scott Leadership University, I'd give the team an A+.

On the heels of the USTRANSCOM change of command, there was another change in leadership for our 932nd AW partners. Col. Bill Edwards relinquished command to Col. Albert. V. Lupenski in a ceremony Oct. 16. In what is another great team, Bill and his wife, Faith, served the entire Total Force team with the same dedication and devotion to duty that marks great leaders. When you think about families and the sacrifices they make, the Edwards' are certainly an example of that. She supported him from afar as she stayed home in South Carolina working a full-time job and taking care of the kids while he performed his duties here, and seeing him about as often as one would a deployed spouse! He led the team magnificently these past two years through numerous inspections and blazed new trails in the world of Total Force Integration.

Thus, we welcome the Lupenskis, Al and Kathy, to Southern Illinois and look forward to doing many great things together. Al comes to us from Travis AFB, Calif., where he commanded the 349th Operations Group, the largest operations group in the Air Force Reserve Command with four flying squadrons, an aeromedical evacuation squadron, an operations support flight, and an airlift control flight assigned. He's a helicopter pilot flying the TH-55, UH-1, HH-3E, and HH-60G, as well as piloting the T-1, C-141 and KC-135R airframes.

Of all the things we do, we pride ourselves on taking care of our people--and that goes for ensuring a first class welcome and send off for our DoD partners. I can't say enough how much Col. Kevin Webb, (375th AMW vice commander), Chief Kevin Candler (375th Command Chief), and I all truly enjoy the privilege of leading this phenomenal wing. Thank you for all you have done and will continue to do for our great base with 3-7-5 . . . Showcase Pride!