General Johnston bids farewell

  • Published
  • By Brig. Gen. Rich Johnston
  • KMC and 86th Airlift Wing commander
Editor's Note: Brig. Gen. Rich Johnston, 86th Airlift Wing commander, will relinguish command to Col. William Bender Dec. 19 at a change of command ceremony. General Johnston has been assigned to U.S. Air Forces in Europe Director, Plans and Programs. 

To our Kaiserslautern Military Community family: it has been an extraordinary privilege for Terry and me to be a part of your community for the past 20 months and we look forward to continuing our relationship from the U.S. Air Forces in Europe staff. I can safely say that the military and civilian members of our team are the very best. And we are the very best because we are living in a country that is a gracious host made up of many dear friends. 

Since I've been here, you've been through many inspections to include a Logistics Standardization and Evaluation Program Inspection, Air Traffic System Evaluation System Program Inspection, Aircrew Standardization and Evaluation Visit and Health Services Inspection and you achieved an 'Excellent' or an 'Outstanding' on each one. These inspections validated our deployable, theater and expeditionary capabilities and readiness to meet every tough mission tasked. 

You kept aircraft and personnel continuously deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom, flew many senior general and civilian leaders all over three continents as well as flew the first mission into Beirut, Lebanon, and brought home 72 U.S. men and childrens remains buried in Libya many years ago. Additionally, the support you provide to Air Mobility Command both here at Ramstein and at Moron Air Base, Spain, as well as aeromedical evacuation operations, humanitarian support to Africa and air and ground support to coalition partners have made a difference in over 100 countries. You are truly second to none. 

You are ready for any contingency and humanitarian operation or theater-wide support - you are warfighting ready and represent the "Biggest, Busiest and Best" - it doesn't get any better than having served with each of you ... and that goes to every military and civilian person in the KMC and at Moron and Chievres Air Base, Belgium. 

Terry and I have thoroughly enjoyed being part of this family and we are excited to remain in the area to continue to witness the outstanding accomplishments of the 86th Airlift Wing. Please give the same kindness and welcome to Col. Bill Bender and his wife, Sue, that you have shown to us. 

Thank you again for all the professionalism and dedication. You, the men and women of the 86th Airlift Wing, truly understand the mission and make the sacrifices that are necessary every day. No commander could ask for more. Be safe and take care of each a good wingman. 

I am proud to have served with each of you and appreciate your hard work and your family's support. We definitely "Get it and you got it."