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From family and friends to service and sacrifice, AMC’s ‘First Lady’ reflects on 38 years of service

  • Published
  • By Air Mobility Command Public Affairs
  • Air Mobility Command Public Affairs
During a ceremony here Nov. 20, AMC Commander Gen. Arthur J. Lichte, and his wife, Christine, will say farewell to the Air Force after 38 years of faithful service.

During her farewell spouse's luncheon Nov. 13, Mrs. Lichte took a moment to reflect on her and her husband's nearly-four decades of service to this nation.

"It is a time of reflection;" Mrs. Lichte said, "reflection on the career that has spanned over too many wars and conflicts that bring such pain and sadness to our military families, but have also brought so much joy and pride because we are a part of an organization that cherishes and deeply cares about its members."

Mrs. Lichte also thanked military personnel for their service. "You touch lives every day and you probably don't even know you are doing it," she said.

While discussing her and her husband's time in service, Mrs. Lichte reflected on the people who touched their lives.

"I think back to Art's [Reserve Officer Training Corps] instructor, Col. Tom Hally, and his wife, Pat, who were so instrumental to us as we began our journey in the Air Force," she said. "They are still our friends today."

She also talked of a nameless military spouse who came to her aid in the Dallas Fort Worth airport years ago. "I was a very young and tearful mom, with two babies, struggling to get to a puddle jumper to Wichita Falls' Sheppard AFB, Texas. She lent me a hand and helped me make my connection."

She said also touching their lives were "two very special senior NCO wives" who mentored her in the ways of the Air Force.

And, she added, "Our first neighbors, Capt. Gary Burchell and his wife, Darla. They were, in our eyes, so very smart and wise and knew everything about the Air Force."

Mrs. Lichte also mentioned the numerous commanders' wives who provided examples of good and bad leaders and taught her valuable lessons.

She discussed why she felt blessed to be living in Germany when the Iraq war started. "Blessed, you ask? Well, I was able to witness the courage and dedication of all military members whether they were the caregivers or the wounded, who demonstrated "service before self" every day.

"While at Landstuhl Regional Hospital I also saw the goodness of people -- Americans, foreigners, it didn't matter," she said. "The generosity and love for those who sacrificed was a marvel to witness."

Mrs. Lichte said she could go on for hours describing all those who touched her and her husband's lives, and she had one last message for those spouses who have, and will continue to serve with their military husbands and wives:

"You have all seen and been part of this magnificent military culture," Mrs. Lichte said. "For all the days of separation from your loved ones; for all the cookies you have baked; for all the dinners you made to welcome and comfort those in need or said farewell to; for all the hugs and tears you have shed; for all the fundraisers you have participated in; for the countless hours you have volunteered to help others ... I thank you for your service. My thoughts and prayers will be with you always.

"May God bless each and every one of you here today, may God bless all who serve -- keep them safe, and may God bless us with peace in our world, and may God bless America."