09/24/12 — 916th officially has new leader

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916th officially has new leader

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on September 24, 2012 1:46 PM


Col. Gregory Gilmour, right, accepts the 916th Air Refueling Wing guidon -- and command of the storied Reserve unit -- from 4th Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Mark Kyle Sunday on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.

Sunday did not simply belong to the two Air Force officers sitting on a stage erected inside one of the many hangars on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.

Both made it clear that the ceremony they were at the heart of was also about the men and women they have and will lead, the community that supports their mission and the members of their respective families who have sacrificed so much as military dependents.

So before Col. Randall Ogden passed the 916th Air Refueling Wing guidon -- and command of the storied Reserve unit -- to Col. Gregory Gilmour, he thanked those who made what he once called "a dream assignment" such a great ride.

"I can say with great confidence that you made the fight easy, you made the race go quickly, and together, I believe we have kept the faith with each other, with our great community and with our nation," he said. "For that, I will be forever grateful."

Moments later, the colonel officially relinquished command.

But his replacement vowed that Ogden's philosophy -- his fierce commitment to mission and family -- would remain.

"This wing has got a 26-year history of excellence and my job is to continue that and enhance that. How am I gonna do that? My job is to take care of the people," Gilmour said. "Your job, your priority, is to take care of your families. If you do not take care of your families, everything else is out the window. So when you come here to work for me, give me 100 percent and then go back to your families and give them 110 percent, because they're gonna need it."

Knowing that both share many of the same values, 4th Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Mark Kyle characterized this particular change of command ceremony as bittersweet.

"I am in the enviable position to put great leaders in charge of great organizations, but with that comes a price. Sometimes I have to take great leaders out of great organizations and send them to staff duty," he said. "Randy Ogden, make no mistake about it, is one of the finest officers, leaders and people I have ever met. Period. You know his bio. I'm not here to eulogize anybody. But he is the quintessential patriot leader who does each and every day everything that it takes to take care of the mission and the people and his family.

"And Greg and his wife ... are uniquely qualified to come here to Seymour Johnson. He is probably as experienced in the tanker and the tanker mission as anyone in our command. ... Like I said, I can put anybody I want in as a wing commander, but I won't do it without an awful lot of thought. ... (Col.) Gilmour comes here with every tool necessary to take the 916th to the next level."