Ramstein Airmen celebrated the final flights of Brig. Gen. Jon T. Thomas, 86th Airlift Wing commander, July 19 to 20.
Thomas, who previously served as commander of the 86th Operations Group from 2008 to 2009, was honored to return to Ramstein.
“It has been an absolute thrill to come back to command again in the Mighty 86th,” Thomas said. “I am immensely proud of all we have collectively accomplished in the past year. We have a great team here at Ramstein, and the Airmen have taught me a lot while succeeding in the mission each and every day.”
Thomas took to the skies three times, flying a C-21, C-37A and C-130J Super Hercules. In all three planes, he was accompanied by Airmen from the 37th Airlift Squadron and 76th Airlift Squadron.
According to Capt. Brad Field, 76 AS C-21 aircraft commander, the experience of working one last time with Thomas was memorable.
“It was a great pleasure to work with him,” Field said. “It was a unique fini flight because he got to fly three planes due to the amount of aircraft the 86th AW holds, but coordinating things for him was easy because I, and my coworkers, appreciate what he’s done for us. He’s a great leader, and he’ll definitely be missed here.”
According to Thomas, he has professionally grown during his tenure as commander.
“Our location and mission present unique challenges, whether they be security, personnel, or materiel,” Thomas said. “Turning these challenges into successes has not always been straightforward, but it was always educational. Every day has been a ‘school day’ for me, as we deal with missions and problem sets no other installation takes on with such regularity. I think I’ve grown more flexible, adaptable and gained a deeper appreciation for the work every Airman does.”
Thomas will be moving on to a new position as director of strategic plans, requirements and programs at Headquarters Air Mobility Command, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois.