Brig. Gen. Karl McGregor, 452d Air Mobility Wing commander, March Air Reserve Base, was joined by friends, family, community and military leaders, Team March members and a couple of birds performing an unplanned flyover for an official pinning on ceremony.
The event, held in the KC-135 PE Hangar, was scheduled for April 14 because he was deployed during his effective February 17 pin-on date.
Maj. Gen. Wade Farris, 22d Air Force commander and the presiding officer, said McGregor began his career as an enlisted helicopter mechanic or â€œsweaty,â€ before becoming a flight engineer, then a pilot. He lauded McGregor for his work as operations and training manager at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., and after hiring McGregor as operations group commander at Westover AFB, Mass., discovered they have two different (management) styles.
â€œIâ€™m laid back. Karl is the Energizer Bunny,â€ Farris said. â€œHe has more energy than three people and knows how to get things done.â€
Farris said McGregor surrounded himself with others who know how to get things done and while at Westover, showed he could run a big operation. As a result, he sent McGregor to fill the wing commander position at Youngstown Air Reserve Station, Ohio.
Citing McGregorâ€™s past performance reports, Farris said McGregor was referred to as a â€œfount of energyâ€ and that he â€œneeds cloning.â€
â€œHeâ€™s not a fount. Heâ€™s the Niagara Falls of energy and Iâ€™m not sure AFRC could stand two or three Karls running around,â€ he jokingly said.
Although McGregor was named the number one commander in Fourth Air Force, he still needs support, Farris said, which he receives from everyone in attendance.
After the physical pinning on portion of the ceremony, Farris turned the microphone over to McGregor who said it was a seminal moment for him and a long, long 36 years to get to this point in his career.
â€œIâ€™ve been fortunate to have supervisors who gave me second and third chances to fail and succeed,â€ he said.
Recalling an incident in Del Rio, Texas in 1985, McGregor said he was in a T-38 flying a pattern solo and pulling extremely tight patterns so the four-star on the ground couldnâ€™t take off. He succeeded in delaying the generalâ€™s take off by more than 30 minutes and as a result, McGregor was ordered to land. He remembers his flight commander yelling at the â€œlynching partyâ€ that reprimanding McGregor was the commanderâ€™s job, not theirs.
â€œI learned a lot from those two to three moments of terror,â€ he said. â€œItâ€™s okay for leadership to kick your butt, but ONLY the leadership.â€
He said one could impact anotherâ€™s career positively or negatively with just a few words and supervisors should let their folks know if their subordinates are doing a good job or may need correction to do better. He encouraged supervisors to stay away from micromanagement and let staff members do their jobs.
McGregor continued to thank those who helped him during his tour at March.
â€œThe 452d has been my support system since I got here,â€ he said. â€œThe tenants are really great partners. The community is family and are great base supporters.â€
McGregor thanked his vice commander, Col. Mary Aldrian, for stepping up during his deployment as well as his group commanders.
â€œThis is possibly the best wing Iâ€™ve ever been in if itâ€™s based on the people and their dedication and support,â€ he said. â€œYou are all head and shoulders above the rest.â€
Just as he finished that statement, the two black crows in attendance flew across the inside of the large hangar as if right on cue, one of them crowed loudly, â€œCaw! Caw!â€
McGregorâ€™s response to the interruption: â€œItâ€™s my fly by.â€