2019 brings ‘Varsity’ opportunity for Ramstein

Story and photos by Airman 1st Class Milton Hamilton
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Leadership of the “World’s Best Wing” focused on the accomplishments and challenges of 2018 to help prepare for future trials and triumphs of 2019 at multiple all-calls here Jan. 25.

Leadership of the “World’s Best Wing” focused on the accomplishments and challenges of 2018 to help prepare for future trials and triumphs of 2019 at multiple all-calls here Jan. 25.

“This is my favorite commander’s call of the year,” said Brig. Gen. Mark R. August, 86th Airlift Wing commander. “This is the only time the Chief and I get the opportunity to stop for a moment and reflect on the previous year. We’ll discuss events we accomplished this year and what our vision for the future is.”

August and Chief Master Sgt. Ernesto Rendon, 86th AW command chief master sergeant, highlighted the Wing’s five priorities, painting each with examples of how dedicated Airmen make the mission happen.


“We take care of our folks,” said Rendon. “Whether you’re active duty, a civilian supporting the mission, or families of our troops, you allow us to do what we do,” said Rendon. “We have to give you more.”

The 86th AW conducts and supports missions from the arctic to the equator, said August. The wing supported several joint-exercises around the globe, including countries such as Morocco, Greece, Iceland, and Romania.

Missions cited by leadership were a high-profile evacuations from downrange and the return of a pastor held in captivity for two years, all done with little to no-notice.

“Our mission is often thankless, but when you realize that almost every single MAJCOM in the U.S. Air Force is on this base, and every single person here does something to support them,” he said. “I can’t think of a better honor than being a gateway to the world.”

August said thank you to his troops for remaining professional and tirelessly supporting approximately 100 tenant units located on Ramstein.

Throughout the all-call, August and Rendon focused on their goal to hone leadership within the wing, and to support Airmen and their families.

“The goal moving forward is to continue to improve leadership development and training for officers, civilians and enlisted members,” said August.

Leadership used the all-call to highlight the wings attention to detail, innovation, and continued successful partnerships with allies, while expressing their ambitions for 2019.

“I really want to build on the 2018 successes,” said August. “We have to shift our mentality and our thought process from base support to a contingency focus.”

In an effort to enhance wartime capabilities down to the individual Airmen, the 86th AW is scheduled to conduct a series of exercises, “Operation Varsity” throughout the year. These exercises will strengthen integration with base tenants and geographically separated units, as well as provide leadership opportunities at every level.

“2018 was an amazing year,” added August. “It was great for the Chief and I to show up and become a part of your organization. There is no shortage of demand for the skills and expertise the 86th AW has. 2019 will be a year where opportunities will be available to sharpen and employ those skills.”

U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Ernesto Rendon, 86th Airlift Wing command chief master sergeant, speaks to Airmen at an all-call on Ramstein Air Base, Jan. 25. Rendon spoke about honing leadership within the wing and supporting Airmen and their families.