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NEWS | Sept. 13, 2007

Leadership recognizes, grateful for SAMFOX

By Brig. Gen. Margaret Woodward and Chief Master Sgt. Stephen Maynard 89th Airlift Wing commander and 89th Airlift Wing Command Chief Master Sergeant

As commander and command chief of the 89th Airlift Wing, we have the privilege of seeing outstanding members of Team Andrews answering a higher calling everyday. The result of this is nothing short of magnificent and exemplifies our first and foremost SAMFOX Universal Truth, "Perfection is the standard." Recently, Secretary of the Air Force Wynne spoke about the 89th Airlift Wing at General Lichte's farewell. In his remarks, he took time to express his sincere appreciation to the men and women of the 89th for their phenomenal service to our Nation's Leaders and the credit that brings to the Air Force. Of course, none of it happens without a true team effort from all of Team Andrews. We'd like to highlight a few of the remarkable people that have helped build a SAMFOX reputation that is second to none! 

When the commanders of the 89th wanted to "serve" our phenomenal Airmen a Wingman Day barbeque, it was people like Ms. Judee Sanders, 316th Wing Services Squadron director, and her Outdoor Recreation staff that pitched in and helped provide us with the supplies. The Andrews Chapel staff were incredible--even doing the cooking for us! All of these efforts together helped us honor the Airmen who make SAMFOX successful. 

Although wing-wide events sometimes take the spotlight, personal efforts like those of Staff Sgt. Katrina Mason, 316th Mission Support Squadron, are just as important. As NCOIC of retentions, Sergeant Mason single-handedly worked a career job reservation issue for a member of the 89 AW. She was able to overcome an administrative roadblock in order to get re-enlistment approval for one of our highly trained and valuable Air Force members. 

Along with the tremendous support from outside the 89 AW, it's individuals like Senior Airman Thomas Elswick, 89th Aerial Port Squadron, that make us so proud to be part of SAMFOX. Overcoming an outage in the passenger processing system, Airman Elswick processed 68 passengers safely and error-free during the recent HQ AMC Logistics Standardization Evaluation Program Inspection. He was lauded by the LSEP team for his outstanding efforts and was presented with an Inspector General coin for his performance. 

While on two separate deployments, two 99th Airlift Squadron flight attendants, Tech. Sgt. Bryant Billingsley and Master Sgt. Lenny Eichsteadt, accomplished heroic and historic acts in the service of their country. While in Nairobi, Kenya, Sergeant Billingsley performed cardio pulmonary rescusitation on an African businessman who had suffered a heart attack. For more than 45 minutes, while waiting for an ambulance and as others looked on, Sergeant Billingsley's decisive actions demonstrated a heroic level of compassion. For this selfless act, he was decorated by the United States Army. 

Sergeant Eichsteadt served as NCOIC of his 17-member Air Force team imbedded with the Army coordinating all combat convoys in his area of operations. During numerous attacks on their position he coordinated and monitored defensive actions for NATO forces. For his performance under enemy fire Sergeant Eichsteadt was awarded the Army Combat Action Badge. 

Tech. Sgt. Denzil Capps, 89th Maintenance Group, recently returned from his own 180-day deployment to Al Taji Air Base, Iraq where he served as a Combat Aviation Advisor to the Iraqi Air Force. His primary duty was to train members of the Iraqi Air Force to perform maintenance on helicopters. Sergeant Capp's presence was pivotal to the process of transitioning military operations back to the Iraqis. 

Here at home, every day our vital mission to transport our Nation's leaders drives us to achieve a level of excellence worthy of SAMFOX. We take great pride in the members of Team Andrews who are making history every day by meeting the challenges of our unique mission. Thank you for who you are and what you do!