3rd AF welcomes new commander

by Airman 1st Class Trevor Rhynes
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Lt. Gen. Frank Gorenc relinquished command of 3rd Air Force to Lt. Gen. Craig A. Franklin during a change of command ceremony March 30 on Ramstein.

Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, U.S. Air Forces in Europe commander, presided over the ceremony and expressed his gratitude for Gorenc’s hard work during his tenure as the 3rd Air Force commander.

“I’m not sure we’re ready to let you go, but it’s that time. Sadly, it’s that time,” Welsh said. “But before you do leave, do me a favor and take one long, last look at the men and women you’ve led for two and a half years and just know how proud they have been to follow.”

Gorenc has been selected for reassignment to the Pentagon where he will serve as the assistant vice chief of staff and director, Air Staff, Headquarters U.S. Air Force at the Pentagon.

Gorenc said he was thankful for the opportunity and looks forward to his next assignment.

“While the past is interesting, this change of command is really about the future. So what comes next?” Gorenc said. “My future is simple. I have been offered a great opportunity to serve another assignment in the world’s greatest Air Force and I’m grateful for that opportunity.”

During the ceremony, Welsh also spoke of Franklin and what type of leader he knew him to be.

“We are very lucky to have him. We got a commander who on 13 of his performance reports, the evaluator said he was the best officer they had ever seen,” Welsh said.

Franklin comes to 3rd Air Force after a tour at the Pentagon, where he served as the vice director, Joint Staff. Franklin has had multiple command jobs over the years, such as commander of the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing at Joint Base Balad, Iraq; the 53rd Wing at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.; the 53rd Test and Evaluations Group at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.; and the 31st Fighter Wing at  Aviano Air Base, Italy.

“Julie and I served in Germany from 1983 to 1986 at Hahn Air Base, Germany, and I can’t tell you how excited we are to return here,” Franklin said. “We are absolutely thrilled to be back.”

Franklin spoke to Gorenc and his wife, Sharon, promising to continue the legacy of those who came before him.

“Frank and Sharon Gorenc, it’s really hard to follow in your footsteps. I am thankful for the opportunity, but you leave a bar that’s set very high,” Franklin said. “I promise you we will keep the bar high and take it to the next level.”

During his speech, Franklin offered to help those who work for him as they carry out their mission.

“For the Airmen, civilians and their superb families across 3rd Air Force: It is my distinct privilege to work with you and to work for you,” Franklin said in a direct address to his new command. “Your accomplishments across the full spectrum of air power in support of joint, NATO, alliance and coalition objectives has absolutely been remarkable. You certainly are one of, if not the greatest, generation of Airmen in our Air Force’s rich history. Julie and I are truly honored for being part of your team.”