Col. Samuel C. Mahaney assumed command of the 452nd Air Mobility Wing, March Air Reserve Base, Calif., Sunday, Aug. 5, at Hanger 2306.
The 4th Air Force commander, Maj. Gen. Mark Kyle, officiated the ceremony, addressing the wing at his home base for the first time since he took command of the numbered Air Force in March 2011.
Kyle spoke about the challenges he’s heard from other wing commanders. He said one commander told him that his unit would “bury the 452nd in performance, in accolades, in fun, in purpose and in mission.” Another said his unit was going to “kick the living bejeezus out of the 452nd.”
“I had to laugh. I thought that was funny,” Kyle said. “I kinda like that. We’ll foster a little competition, some comaraderie.”
Kyle said what really makes him happy is that he has begun to bring leaders together in 4AF who are serious about getting the job done. Kyle said Mahaney is a force, a rock star that gets it done and understands it.
“He’s about people, mission and performance, in that order,” Kyle said. “He is here to serve. First the Air Force, then the Air Force Reserve Command and then the 452nd. There is no better man in the Air Force Reserve Command for this base, at this time, today than Bo Mahaney.”
Once Mahaney accepted command of the wing, he wasted no time in addressing the challenges from other units.
“I consider this to be the premier wing in the Air Force Reserve Command,” he said. “By listening to you, I can learn if there’s something that has come in between our troops and the mission. There’s nothing more important to me than seeing you succeed; to make sure that you have everything you need to succeed. You may have heard people say that before. I’ll stand behind those words and you can hold me to it,” Mahaney said.
A self-proclaimed practical joker, Mahaney has made 17 moves with his family and said his wife-of-29-years, Chris, the love of his life.
“She still lights up my world like the very first day that I convinced her to marry down,” he said, adding that she is just as committed to the wing as he is. “You’re going to see a lot of her.”
Mahaney said he is the type of commander who likes to walk around and visit his troops, so don’t be surprised when he walks up to you one day to see what might need fixing, he said.
“There are always some things that need fixing and we’ll work on those together. One might ask how I’ll identify those things. I’ll know that by asking you,” Mahaney said.
When people around the Air Force talk about March ARB, they talk about a wing that gets the job done. This is the largest wing in the command, and is referred to by others as the Go-to-Wing. A name of this stature carries a price, Mahaney said.
“It means that at any given moment, hundreds of us are deployed around the world. At any time, I can get that phone call saying that one of our own had been hurt or worse. You serve your country and still find time to spend with family. You live your life for this,” Mahaney said. “Your training and readiness requirements are the same as active duty, yet you find a way to accomplish them in addition to your civilian jobs. You are ready to go anywhere, anytime, in 72 hours. That’s a big deal! That’s why I ‘m here for you. I know what sacrifice you all are making and I know what I need to do for you because of what you are doing for our nation.”
Mahaney said his philosophy is two-fold. First, take care of the people and they’ll take care of the mission.
“If you come in here and you do your job but you don’t get paid, we’re not taking care of you. If you call up and you try to make billeting reservations so you can stay here for a UTA and you have a lot of hassle with that, I’m not taking care of you,” he said. “So I need to hear about those things and we’ll make sure they are all taken care of.”
Second, he believes in a culture of feedback.
“Some of you have already experienced this. I’ve spent time with the Advisory Council and the Rising Six,” he said. “I’ll spend time with anybody and everybody who wants me to lend them my ear. Let me know what’s going on and we’ll make sure we get it fixed.”
The commander said his bottom line is to fix it if it’s broken, change the process if it is flawed, get an exception to policy and then change the policy if needed and rewrite bad regulations.
“So, if you’re standing there thinking, ‘Gosh, we can’t do that because the law says we can’t,’ but it’s something we ought to be doing, let me know. We’ll get it changed.”
Col. Samuel C. Mahaney, on stage-right, took command of the 452nd Air Mobility Wing, March Air Reserve Base, Calif., Aug 4. Airmen assigned to the Base Honor Guard present arms during the base change of command ceremony. (U.S. Air Force photo / Senior Airman Isis Ponce)