05/02/10 — 916th ARW command officially changes hands

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916th ARW command officially changes hands

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on May 2, 2010 1:50 AM

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916th Air Refueling Wing Commander Col. Randall Ogden, right, takes command of the 916th from Major Gen. Eric Crabtree, left, and former 916th Commander Col. Stephen "Fritz" Linsenmeyer, not pictured, during the change of command ceremony held on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base on Saturday.

In a matter of moments, command of the 916th Air Refueling Wing was transferred from one Air Force colonel to another.

But before Col. Fritz Linsenmeyer relinquished his post, he spoke to those who showed up at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base Saturday morning to officially see him off -- and welcome his replacement, Col. Randall Ogden.

And he thanked them for all they did to make his latest assignment one worth remembering.

Like members of the 4th Fighter Wing, his airmen's active duty counterparts.

"That 'Fourth but first motto,' I see it on a daily basis," Linsenmeyer said.

And those living in the communities outside the base gates, particularly those who serve on the local Military Affairs Committee.

"They tell me (Youngstown Air Reserve Station, Ohio) has a great base/community council, but the MAC has set the bar high," he said.

But the colonel reserved the majority of his praise for those men and women he has led for the past two-plus years.

"I don't know how we could do things any better than we already do," he said. "(Leading you) was, truly, a dream come true."

Shortly after he was named the 916th's new commander, Ogden, too, said there is something special about being asked to lead such a storied wing.

"It's just an honor and a privilege to come command a wing with such a record of excellence," Ogden said in April. "We're ready to jump in with all we have."

He echoed those sentiments after taking the wing's guidon from 4th Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Eric Crabtree.

"It's a beautiful day and I'm delighted to be here," Ogden said. "I have the privilege of taking over the greatest refueling wing in the United States Air Force -- huge history and tradition. ... We have the finest."

Just as he had the honor of taking it from Linsenmeyer, a man he has looked up to since replacing him years ago at Grissom Air Reserve Base's 434th Air Refueling Wing.

"There are times I have wondered, 'Hey, would I have like to have followed a less impressive commander?' Maybe I could have shined more," Ogden said. "But Fritz, I will follow you any day."

Ogden is already quite well-versed in the KC-135R Stratotanker, having commanded the aircraft for nearly a decade both at home and in Afghanistan.

And if the 916th's reputation is as good as he has heard it is, he said he knows all too well just what to expect during his time as its commander: Excellence.

"I have heard great things not only about how we work with the 4th Fighter Wing ... but also about just the incredible relationship our airmen have with the community," Ogden said in April. "And whether it's refueling or hauling patients, the 916th has a great track record of serving admirably."