86th AW commander bids farewell to KMC

Brig. Gen. Erwin F. Lessel III
86th Airlift Wing commander

It was truly an honor and a rewarding experience for me to serve as your wing and community commander. Each of you and your families can take great pride in your tremendous service to our country and outstanding performance and contributions to our national interests.

From conducting combat airlift and combat support operations in northern Iraq at the height of Operation Iraqi Freedom to humanitarian operations in the war-torn country of Liberia, you have served proudly. From isolated outposts in the Middle East to the welcoming of POWs and injured personnel on Ramstein’s flightline — in the cold and rain, in the heat and dust –— and at LRMC, you were there every step of the way.

You have excelled across the spectrum of conflict conducting combat operations, supporting peacekeeping operations and conducting humanitarian assistance operations throughout the theater. I thank each of you for your tremendous professionalism, dedication to duty, unwavering spirit and record of accomplishment during my tenure.

On January 15th the Air Force’s largest wing will transform by growing into the 435th Air Base Wing and the 86th Airlift Wing. Both organizations will continue to excel by closely integrating operations and support to “America’s Premier Strategic Operations Hub” — the Gateway to Europe! I wish both wings and the entire Kaiserslautern Military Community continued success.

We are indeed the “biggest, busiest and best” and I’m truly honored to have served as your commander. Cathy, Mark and I wish you and your families the very best in 2004.

We will always remember our Ramstein Air Force family as well as our gracious German hosts. Thank you very much and God