Air Force

October 18, 2013

Q and A interview – some parting words from our wing commander

Col. Samuel Mahaney, 452 Air Mobility Wing commander, and his wife Chris, participate in a discussion during a weekly meeting held in the Hap Arnold House conference room. Prior to his arrival at March Field, Mahaney led two previous units through their Operational Readiness Inspections, which was his first task here, except at March, the ORI was back-to-back with a Nuclear ORI. Mahaney flew missions with members of the wing and developed lasting friendships here. His new assignment with the Air Reserve Personnel Center at Buckley Air Force Base, Colo., will require a focus on the Air Force, Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard.

Col. Samuel C. Mahaney assumed command of the 452 Air Mobility Wing on Aug, 5, 2012 in a ceremony presided over by 4th Air Force Commander, Maj. Gen. Mark A. Kyle. During the ceremony, Kyle said that Mahaney was about the people, the mission and performance. He came to March to serve. “There is no better man in the Air Force Reserve Command for this base, at this time, today than Bo Mahaney.”

After accepting command of the wing, Mahaney addressed attendees at the ceremony saying, “I consider this to be the premier wing in the Air Force Reserve Command. By listening to you, I can learn if there’s something that has come in between our troops and the mission. There is nothing more important to me than seeing you succeed; to make sure that you have everything you need to succeed. I’ll stand by those words and you can hold me to it,” Mahaney said.

After hearing that he and his family would be departing March Air Reserve Base for an assignment at Buckley Air Force Base and the Air Reserve Personnel Center, the staff in the public affairs office asked him to respond to some questions. He graciously responded and those answers are printed below. Mahnaney’s last official day is Oct. 18.

Question – Sir, when you came to March, you probably had some ideas as to where you wanted to lead the wing in terms of direction and goals. As you get ready to transition to Buckley AFB, describe your thoughts about your time here and what it’s meant to lead the men and women of the 452 AMW.

First, we had to tackle the ORI and NORI. Having taken two units through two separate ORIs in the 14 months prior to my arrival, I recognized right away there were a few areas of the wing that were not ready to pass these major inspections. It was very rewarding to mentor wing members and to see them perform exceptionally during the inspections. The way the wing performed made me very proud.

Second, I knew the wing needed a road map – a flight plan. We set wing, group and unit objectives and priorities to provide a clear path to the future. Finally, I wanted to highlight to the nation the cost efficient and militarily effective way in which this wing carries out its mission. I wanted to show that March ARB provides a fiscally responsible template for how air base operations should look across the DOD in the future. The assignment was cut short, so we didn’t mature the second and third objective to the extent I would have liked. I have no doubt, however, that the wing will move in the right direction.

The men and women of the 452 AMW have become dear friends and family to Chris and me. They are kind, generous and compassionate. We have never felt more like family than when we had our get-togethers with the Arnold House staff. Nancy Ferrick, Elaine Plein, Lt. Col. Scipia Curtis, Master Sgt Kelley Lundrigan and Reobie Markham are the best cooks and organizers on the planet. I have enjoyed building and working with a leadership team of a vice wing commander, wing executive officers, command chief, group commanders and squadron commanders unmatched in the Air Force. Groups like the Chiefs’ Group, the First Sergeants’ Council, the Rising Six, the Company Grade Officers’ Council, Air Force Sergeant’s Association and Reserve Officers Association have inspired me with their professionalism, hard work, dedication and most importantly, their feedback. I will miss working with PA and 4th Combat Camera to put out exciting strategic message videos. I will miss ‘Dirty Thursdays.’ Whether I was changing out aircraft nose wheels with the wheel and tire guys, exploding IEDs with EOD, working the gate or taking out an active shooter with the Defenders, providing customer service with the FSS or participating in combat forensics training with 4th Combat Camera, I have never had so much fun and learned so much working directly with our frontline warriors. The communities of Perris, Moreno Valley and Riverside have embraced Chris and me and made us part of their families. We will miss everyone immensely.

Question - What do you see as your legacy here at March as you get ready to depart?

It is not my legacy that matters. Wing commanders come and go. The important thing is that the men and women of this wing understand their role in propelling the wing and base into the future. I see the pride in their faces and feel it in their hearts. It is my hope they will harness that pride to develop the Airmen who come into the wing in the future.

Question - As a command pilot you have more than 5,000 hours of flight time. Do you see yourself as having the opportunity to fly again one day?

I love to fly. I have flown to just about every corner of the world with the fine aviators and maintainers of the 452 AMW. I have flown combat missions into the darkness of Afghanistan and I have flown troops and equipment to our allies in Asia and the Pacific. I have never enjoyed carrying out the mission as much as I have during this past year. It is my hope my future assignments will allow me to continue to contribute by flying in the defense of our nation.

Question - How do you think your assignment at Buckley AFB will differ from your role as commander of the 452 AMW?

The mission at ARPC will be much broader in scope than the mission at March ARB. Rather than being focused on training, equipping and executing the mission at a single AFRC wing, my focus will be AFRC wide. It will include the Air National Guard and the entire Air Force.

Question - What was the most difficult thing you dealt with as commander?

Nothing. I don’t view a challenge as a difficulty. I view challenges as opportunities to correct problems. Because of the tremendous capabilities of the professionals at this base, and their willingness to provide copious amount of feedback, I was never without options. As a result, I made each and every decision with full confidence the end result would be nothing less than effective.

Question - What will be your greatest memory of Team March?

The people! Chris and I have made more lasting friendships here than anywhere before. I hope this doesn’t sound too sappy, but I love these people and there is nothing I wouldn’t do for them.




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