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Group Commander Col. Burns’ Comments from the Change of Command (CoC)

June 22, 2010

Thank you and good morning. – To the families of the Lanes and the Benton’s….welcome to this big day for all of you —- A family of six going and a family of six coming….it’s good to see we’re not losing our strength in this assignment transaction – Chief McCleod, thanks for being here this morning to represent the Wing, I know Gen Dillon is off station today and is really disappointed he couldn’t attend – Chief Stippel, thanks for your attendance today and for representing the 435 AGOW — You also served as the 435th ABW Command Chief for part of Maj Lane’s command tour and your attendance brings back warm memories from that period in this unit’s history – Also welcome to attending group commanders……..(name them) as well as squadron commanders, chiefs, and friends of the 86th MUNS. – Finally, to members of the 86th Munitions Squadron, the formation looks great, the MSA looks great. It’s truly an honor to be here today to mark this important event in your unit history – And what a fantastic rendition of the National Anthem (applause) — Emily, thanks for being a part of your Dad’s ceremony, I know he will always remember your special participation in this important part of his military career – Sergeant Sweeney, thanks for your words – Honor guard, thank you for supporting this event, I know you’re small in numbers and heavily tasked and we appreciate your service including the units own Staff Sergeant Shaun Pettis Comments on Munitions Squadron – We’re here today to change commanders but it’s also a great opportunity to look at this unit — Why is it here….what does it do…..and what has it accomplished over the past two years – The 86th MUNS is one of those Ramstein units with a very unique and important mission — Always a little mysterious tucked away behind the fences, this unit stays very busy taking care of a munitions stockpile that nears a half-billion dollars in value and packs a punch…. with almost 1.5 million lbs of net explosive weight. — I’m not exactly sure how to relate what 1.5 million pounds of NEW represents but I’ll tell you one thing…we wouldn’t want to be sitting here today if there was any doubt about how these munitions were being taken care of — The scope of this unit’s mission is amazing including 42 accounts that reach across 5 nations, three continents, and three combatant commands — This squadron maintains EUCOM’s war readiness stock to include the command’s first small diameter bomb beddown that provides yet another arrow in the EUCOM quiver — As EUCOM’s munitions airlift hub, this unit is responsible to have munitions always ready to deploy and to be able to quickly get them ready for aircraft movement wherever needed — I sleep well at night knowing they are prepared to make their mission happen when asked — Additionally, this unit has been a source of expertise for thee combatant commanders — When the new Heavy Airlift Wing at Papa Hungary needed someone to help them establish an account to enable their operations….that help came from the 86 MUNS — When 17 AF and CENTCOM needed someone to fix and sustain a broken deployed account at Djibouti…that help came from…and still comes from the 86th MUNS — And when it comes to doing the job right, from environmental waste management, to movement of dangerous goods, to safety, to taking care of vehicles and facilities or to simply taking care of each other, this unit does it right – This Munitions sqdn has an incredible mission and I want to thank each member here today for your professionalism & dedication to that mission. I’m very proud of each and every one of you

Now I want to farewell the leader that has guided this sqdn to many notable achievements – But first…I want to recognize the Lane family with us today – Melissa, who’s been both a good friend and helper to the men and women of the MUNS but also has been a great Mom to Sarah, Ian, Hannah and Abigail – thanks Melissa – To the kids; thank you for your sacrifices. I know your Dad went to work early and came home late. A squadron commander has a lot of people that count on him and your Dad took great care of his people and didn’t get to spend as much time with you as he’d liked…but I’ve seen your family a few times together and you are great young Americans….bright, respectful, and good citizens. Thanks for all you’ve done .

And now, a few words about Maj Chris Lane — Each Air Force officer will have strengths and weaknesses and each commander will have personal traits that mark the way they lead and mark the personality of their unit — With Chris Lane, the trait…the hallmark that clearly stands out… character — Now I know Chris did not consciously decide that I’m going to be the officer and commander known as “Mr. Integrity”….but that is what Chris has become in my eyes — From day one I noticed everything he does….every decision he makes, is guided first and foremost by one principle…..what is the right thing to do. — And I know Chris will tell you this mantle is not an easy burden to carry because once you define yourself as a man of character…..the expectation is always there….and in reality….living your life by this creed in front of a squadron is not an easy thing to do….I’ve seen him struggle with hard decisions that are certainly not popular but he’s definitely earned my respect and admiration – And successes….absolutely, Chris has led his unit to some fantastic accomplishments — Let’s start with compliance…in this business you have to do things right, all the time, every time — This unit got more hard looks from the outside than any other squadron in my group…and each look ended with glowing remarks on the quality of the leadership of this unit…. That leadership is reflected in the commitment and stewardship this sqdn gives to their mission — An “Excellent” rating on their Command SAV; an “Excellent” rating on the command UCI and An “Outstanding” on the MAF LCAP…with the highest unit score within the Wing…a 98% Pass Rate on 197 evaluations — Additionally, Chris implemented his unit’s portion of the Nuclear Weapons Related Materiel Program….a program the Air Force audit agency called flawless — Let’s talk about innovation….during Maj Lane’s tenure, PBD 720 drove his unit manning from 170 plus personnel to 110 without a decrease in the size of his mission — Undaunted, Chris turned to lean principles and the AFSO21 process to reshape his unit and make it more efficient while still looking for ways to improve the quality of the output — Some would argue….it can’t be done….the record of compliance and an Air Force Best Practice Award for Customer Training tells me otherwise – As a commander, Major Chris Lane ran a tight ship from top to bottom, his squadron led the rest of the group in my key metrics for successful administration. If you fall under the command of Major Lane you’re expected to meet standards for timeliness, fitness, and professionalism — This commitment to excellence resulted in a list of achievements and personal awards for munitions personnel too large to cover here today….but I will touch on one achievement that I feel stands out in this Wing and Base…..the 86 MUNS went well over 600 days without a DUI and officially, the counter is still moving…but Maj Lane doesn’t quibble over technicalities and he officially ended the count a few months ago, still….this incredible record of promoting the Wingman concept is a perfect example of the difference a leader can make – Chris, we wish you well as you head to your assignment on the Air Force Inspection Agency staff — you’ve done some amazing things and should be rightfully proud because I and the rest of the group are rightfully proud of you.

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