86th AW welcomes new commander
By Airman 1st Class John R. Wright , 86th Airlift Wing/Public Affairs
/ Published August 11, 2020
RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- Service members of the 86th Airlift Wing welcomed their new commander, Brig. Gen. Joshua M. Olson, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Aug. 7, 2020.
Brig. Gen. Mark R. August relinquished command of the 86th AW to Olson during a change of command ceremony at Hangar 3, presided over by Maj. Gen. Randall Reed, 3rd Air Force commander.
“To the members of the 86th AW, being an Airman here is exciting, especially when you have awesome leadership – and you have it,” Reed said. “You need not worry because awesome leadership will continue. Brig. Gen. Josh Olson knows your mission, and he’s ready for a seat at the head of the table.”
Reflecting on August’s leadership, Reed took a moment to personally thank him and his family, especially for the sacrifices made surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
“You had the moral courage to make the hard decisions – to protect us all, both on base and off base,” Reed said. “You provided help to the needy, and you kept 3rd Air Force Airmen ready for duty to guarantee peace, stability, and deliver humanitarian assistance.”
From Aug. 9, 2018 to Aug. 7, 2020, August has led the U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa’s largest wing, comprised of seven groups, 29 squadrons and 8,500 members.
“Two years ago we set out on a journey to be the world’s best wing,” August said. “We looked at readiness, we looked at resilience and we looked at lethality, and no one does it better than you. What we found here in this wing, is that lethality is innovation powered by Airmen, and you guys delivered on that.”
The year 2020 has been a testament to the importance August placed on training, with the initiation of exercise Operation Varsity to prepare Ramstein for contingency operations and events that call upon the 86th AW’s professional airlift capabilities.
“It’s been amazing to watch our readiness turned into results,” August said. “Thank you for your leadership. Thank you for your service. And thanks for letting me command the World’s Best Wing.”
As Olson assumed command of the 86th AW, a unit spread across four bases in Germany, Spain, Belgium and Portugal, he called for the continued strengthening of leadership and the Airmen that make up Team Ramstein.
“We need you as we expedite global mobility and air power throughout Europe and Africa,” Olson said. “We need you to train our youngest Airmen and sharpen them for tomorrow’s challenges.”
Olson expressed appreciation for the trust and confidence being placed in his leadership.
“I’m humbled at the opportunity to lead the men and women of the 86th Airlift Wing and Team Ramstein,” Olson said. “We will not let you down.”