MacDill AFB: A Community Bids Farewell to Col. Richoux

A billboard in Brandon, FL.

Col. Lenny Richoux was certainly a popular commander when running Tampa’s MacDill Air Force Base. He started a friends of MacDill program to encourage civilian members of the community to visit the base and get to know its work and people.

Richoux also worked to expand services to military families, about 80 percent of them, living off base in communities such as Brandon. So, it’s no wonder that this billboard appeared in Brandon.

I don’t know who sponsored the billboard, but you hope Richoux and his family have a chance to see it before flying off to Belgium, their new post.

And a welcome to Col. Scott DeThomas, a friend of Richoux’s, and the new MacDill AFB commander and leader of the 6th Air Mobility Wing.

MacDill Air Force Base Changes Commanders

Col. Lenny Richoux is reassigned from Tampa’s MacDill AFB to Belgium and the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe.

Every two years MacDill Air Force Base gets a new commander. Col. Lenny Richoux will hand over control of the 6th Air Mobility Wing and Tampa’s MacDill Air Force Base Friday at 9 a.m. in a Change of Command Ceremony.

Richoux said he’s leaving MacDill and the 2600 airmen of the 6th Air Mobility Wind in good hands. He knows his successor well, Col. Scott DeThomas.

“Scott (DeThomas) and I go way back as captains flying the C-17 at Charleston Air Force Base,” Richoux said during an interview in May. “Ironically, this is the second time that he and I have shared command of the same organization.”

The first time, Richoux turned over command of the 17th Air Lift Squadron at Charles ton to DeThomas in 2007.

DeThomas comes to Tampa from Kuwait where he was Commander, 387th Air Expeditionary Group leading 700 airmen in support of Coalition forces and civilian contractors in support of U.S. Central Command Operations.

Now, DeThomas will command the base that is home to CENTCOM as well as Special Operations Command among other commands.

Richoux said they have similar command styles.

“We’re cut from the same bolt of fabric,” Richoux said. “We’re both air mobility airmen. He has a similar flying background as me. Our families are close. And we’ve had a number of assignments together.

Richoux and his family are headed to Belgium where he will serve as the Senior Special assistant to the Supreme Allied Commander at the European Command.

MacDill Air Force Base Memorial Day Ceremony

Units from the MacDill 6th Air Mobility Wing, Central Command, Special Operations Command and the Joint Communications Support Element come to attention during the morning ceremony.

The wail of bagpipes playing “Amazing Grace.” The sharp crack of three rifle volleys being fired. The playing of “Taps.”  All the traditional Memorial Days moments were present at the MacDill Air Force Base Memorial Day ceremony.

Also there in full dress uniform: units from Special Operations Command, Central Command, the Joint Communications Support Element and the 6th Air Mobility Wing.

Military families and dozens of civilians, invited by MacDill Air Force Base Commander Col. Lenny Richoux, sat on folding chairs under the morning sun.

Memorial Day 2012 wreath at MacDill Air Force Base Air Park.

Richoux said Memorial Day is equally important to respects to the fallen but also remember their families.

“We want them to know that their loved one’s service was for the right causes and the right reasons,” Richoux said after the 30 minute ceremony. “We thank them and we remember them and we stand with them as they continue to grieve the losses of their loved ones.” Continue reading

MacDill Air Force Base Marks an Early Memorial Day

MacDill Air Force Base personnel remembered their fallen comrades during an early Memorial Day ceremony.

By Alex Cook

Memorial Day isn’t until Monday, but members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Marines held a ceremony on MacDill Air Force Base Thursday honoring those who have died serving their country.

The mood was somber as the military formation gathered under the American flag. A 21-gun salute pierced the silence, followed by a lone bugler playing Taps.

Colonel Lenny Richoux, commander of the 6th Air Mobility Wing, led the tribute by presenting a wreath in honor of those who gave their lives for their country.

“All who have worn the uniform know we swear to support and defend the Constitution and we’ll pay the ultimate price – make the ultimate sacrifice,” said Richoux during his speech. “These great Americans and thousands like them who heard the calling of their nation gave all they had so that we can enjoy this beautiful day in Tampa Bay in the great state of Florida, in these United States, the greatest nation on the planet.”

A steel beam salvaged from the World Trade Center sat on display as a reminder of the terrorist attacks of 9/11. The conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have claimed the lives of almost 6000 service members over the last decade.

Home to CENTCOM, SOCOM, MacDill AFB Turns 70

A nod to the men and women serving at Tampa, Florida’s MacDill Air Force Base – home to 41 different units including Central Command, Special Operations Command and the Joint Communications Support Element. MacDill also is the base for the 6th Air Mobility Wing. Below is a column by the commander marking MacDill’s anniversary 15 April, 2011.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn presenting Col. Lenny Richoux with a city proclamation honoring MacDill AFB on its 70th Anniversary.

Commentary by Col. Lenny Richoux,
6th Air Mobility Wing commander

Happy Birthday MacDill Air Force Base! We are celebrating our 70th anniversary and a proud Air Force heritage in Tampa. I am truly grateful to serve with the fine women and men who currently are stationed on this base, and I look up to the leaders who paved the way in Mobility excellence getting us to where we are present-day.

That same spirit of excellence undoubtedly continues to thrive. Just recently I attended a going-away luncheon for a junior staff officer and I commented on what I’d seen in him. I reflected on the distinguishing quality of transformational leadership he applied to tasks he was given.

Nowadays, many junior personnel are working in critical slots that once were occupied by mid-level non-commissioned officers and officers. You’re being demanded, now more than ever, to grow up quickly and to step up to the challenge of greater capacity. Frankly, you’re manning critical positions at a younger age.

Recently we simultaneously supported Operation Tomadachi relief efforts in Japan, Operation Odyssey Dawn and other world-wide contingencies.

Additionally the 6 AMW Vice Commander, Col. David Cohen is deployed to support the 313th Air Expeditionary Wing for Operation Unified Protector mission over Libya.

I’m witnessing that MacDill isn’t just developing leaders, but developing transformational leaders-those of you who are seizing the challenge of taking the vision your commanders have articulated, and you’re understanding their intent and filling in the pragmatic planks. You’re making it happen in reality, manifesting great things for the base.

Many of you have shown that you’re motivated and mature enough to do it. Just like great leaders and pioneers that lived and breathed on MacDill in the past, we are seeing MacDill’s own make outstanding contributions that will become history’s milestones that Airmen will reflect on in the future.

We were informed this week that four MacDill Airmen were selected to attend Phoenix Stripe next month. Phoenix Stripe is a highly-selective, four-star-sponsored conference held at AMC headquarters, suited to develop the transformational leaders like the ones I’ve described. I’m proud to congratulate Staff Sgt. Kevin Rocha from the 6th Maintenance Squadron, Staff Sgt. Roger Zehr, of the 6th Operations Support Squadron, 6th Aerospace Medicine Squadron’s Staff Sgt. Christopher Pina, and Tech. Sgt. Caren Price representing the Wing Staff.

The 6th Medical Group’s Tech. Sgt. Frances Sloat, an advanced oral hygiene technician, was recently selected NCO of the Quarter for the Medical Group.

Tech. Sgt. Alan Matthews, a 310 Airlift Squadron instructor, flight engineer, managed a $1.4 million flight safety aircrew training contract as the crew resource management facilitator. He organized and led biweekly training sessions that were instrumental to crew coordination and mishap prevention. He also recently completed a Master of Business Administration degree.

Also, the 6th Medical Group’s 1st Lt. Erin O’Connor took the women’s bronze medal in the Armed Forces Triathlon, April 9.

I am proud to serve with you in the finest Air Mobility Wing on the face of the planet!

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