916th commander ready to take post
By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on September 13, 2012 1:46 PM
The guidon will not officially change hands for another 10 days, but Col. Gregory Gilmour already sounds like the 916th Air Refueling Wing commander.
He is well-versed on the sacrifices being made by the men and women who make up one of the Air Force Reserve's most distinguished units.
"We're constantly doing things," he said. "If it's not a big inspection, it's deployment, prep for deployment and back out again. And in the meantime, they have to fly."
And he is committed to being their champion.
"When they come in, these guys have already worked a full day. How many people out there do that? Very few. And they are giving to their country to do that," Gilmour said. "We are different. We're not better, we're just different. Our guys put their hands up. This is a second job -- a second full-time job ... and I don't think it's truly appreciated at some level."
He grew up an "Army brat," but never wanted to join the same branch his father dedicated much of his life to.
"I wanted to fly," Gilmour said.
So after, thanks to a Navy scholarship, he completed his education at the Citadel, he took to the skies.
"It was a great time," he said of his stint as a helicopter pilot. "Really neat."
His service took him around the world -- from the Mediterranean to Antarctica.
"I've seen it all," Gilmour said.
So he knows well some of the perks that come with wearing the nation's uniform.
But he also understands that service and sacrifice go hand in hand -- that deployments mean time spent away from family and friends; that the daily grind associated with a career in the military can be daunting.
So when he takes the 916th guidon Sept. 23, he will do so with a sense of responsibility -- to both his airmen and their families.
"You shake their hands and pat them on the back," Gilmour said. "You just have to give them the support they need. They just want someone to back them."
And he will remind them just how important their work is -- how much the humble Reserve wing from Goldsboro brings to the fight still being waged across the world.
"The tanker world is the blue collar worker. Nothing moves if we don't move," Gilmour said. "They don't go very far without us. The first thing the general is screaming for isn't a fighter. It's, 'Where is the tanker?'
"So I don't need to get in their way. This is a great wing. So my job, really, is just to continue to support them."