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NEWS | June 7, 2010

316th Wing commander says farewell and thank you

By Col. Steven Shepro 316th Wing

Today, I join the few and proud ranks of "former 316th Wing commanders" and "former Andrews Air Force Base commanders." Looking back over the last 21 months, I am deeply grateful to have been entrusted with the honor of leading this world-renowned base that serves as ambassador to the world and guarantor of the support and defense of the National Capital Region.

There is truly no place like Andrews. Daily we are entrusted to excel in the highest-visibility tasks, and then often called upon to assure successes that are heralded in national and international headlines. Our reviews come from national leadership and the world press, and I think their continual accolades have been rewarding for all of us. However, an equally great source of pride has been the feedback from our Airmen, Sailors, Soldiers, Marines, and our local community on these achievements and moreover on the Andrews vision we have reached as a team.

"How many of you are excited to be here?" is the question we ask at our weekly "Welcome to Andrews" Newcomer Orientation. The positive response over the year has been motivating, and has markedly increased with the growing notoriety of this great team. It has been deeply rewarding to hear how we have raised a new sense of pride at Andrews. The pride is evident across everyone's role in our unique missions here, in the base appearance and in facilities improvements. The pride is palpable, as we have strived for "Presidential-level service" from each to all of Team Andrews and their families, whether here or deployed. It is pride that one sees in a new level of tactical fitness that has made us stronger in this area of responsibility and those around the world.

You made this happen; you embraced these goals and reached them - but it is not time to stop. The vision must grow, just as this joint base and this host wing are growing. Continue making your workplace better. Continue to forge effective relationships with the Andrews mission partners. Continue to be the best; if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.

You embody what makes our country great and what keeps it free; of this I am sure. The one thing that I have yet to figure out is: where did we find you? How do we manage to get such remarkable men and women from across America? When I look back at my time at Andrews, I see the pride of America and will always think of you.

As I pass the baton to Col. Kenneth Rizer, I do it knowing what an honor and privilege it will be for him to serve you. I thank each and every one of you for your service to Joint Base Andrews and our nation. God Bless you and your families, and God bless the future of our nation.