Ellsworth welcomes 12th AF leaders
By Airman Ashley J. Cass, 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
/ Published July 18, 2012
ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. -- Lt. Gen. Robin Rand, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) commander, toured several base units and agencies July 12 and 13, as part of an initiative to visit all of the bases under his command and observe numerous facets of the 28th Bomb Wing's mission.
Rand was accompanied by Chief Master Sgt. Gerardo Tapia, 12th AF (AFSOUTH) command chief master sergeant, as the pair was given a firsthand look at Ellsworth's mission by Airmen who accomplish some of the many vital tasks related to the wing's success.
Rand made time to speak to Airmen from several facilities, including the new deployment center and the 28th Munitions Squadron. Throughout his stay, he expressed his appreciation for Ellsworth Airmen and his pride in the dedication and professionalism they bring to the mission every day.
One of the highlights of Rand's stay at Ellsworth was a dedication ceremony at the auditorium of the 432nd Attack Squadron, where he spoke to a small crowd about the importance of the mission of the 432nd ATKS.
"This is important to me," Rand said. "Thank you for taking care of our nation's business. This squadron is going to save a lot of American lives."
The 432nd ATKS's mission is to provide air interdiction and strike coordination for combatant commanders through the remote piloting of MQ-9 Reaper aircraft from ground control facilities.
The auditorium was dedicated to Col. Charles R. Greening, a former member of the 432nd Bomb Squadron in the 1940s who participated in the Doolittle Raid in 1942.
"Today, we are honoring a true patriot and a real American," said Lt. Col. Christopher Clark, 432nd ATKS commander.
Rand said that the Doolittle Raid had a strategic impact that was incredibly important to the American war effort.
"It struck fear into the heart of the enemy," Rand said.
Rand recounted how Greening was shot down by the Germans during a combat mission in Italy. Greening was taken prisoner, but escaped and evaded capture for six months, until he was captured again. The general and Clark also spoke about the legacy left by Airmen like Greening, and encouraged all Airmen today to carry on that tradition of bravery and excellence.
"Think about this," Rand said. "What are they going to say about the 432nd squadron in 40 years?"
Rand also took the opportunity to clearly outline his priorities and vision for 12th AF during two commander's calls for Ellsworth NCOs and officers.
During his address he stressed the importance of enforcing the standards that are expected of every Airman, both on- and off-duty.
"Standards keep us on the combat edge," Rand said. "They keep our Airmen alive."
He also encouraged supervisors to stay involved in the lives of their Airmen and their families, and to be a positive example for their Airmen.
"It starts with you," Rand said during the NCO call. "Represent our Air Force with class and dignity. Lead well, and take care of our Airmen."
At the conclusion of the commander's calls, Rand fielded a flurry of questions ranging from concerns about base realignment and closure to benefits reduction and promotion rates.
At the end of his visit, Rand expressed his appreciation for the Air Force's premiere B-1 wing.
"I love the 28th Bomb Wing," Rand said. "I'm proud of what the wing does for America."