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Wing says farewell to vice commander

By Capt. Wayne Capps | 315th Airlift Wing Public Affairs | May 19, 2010

JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Col. Mike Speer will say farewell to the men and women of the 315th Airlift Wing as he retires from the Air Force Reserve June 1.

The wing will commemorate Colonel Speer's retirement with a going away "tail-gating party" May 21 behind Bldg. 54, on Joint Base Charleston.

"It has been an honor and pleasure working with Mike," said Col. Stephen Chapman, 315th Airlift Wing commander, who is currently deployed. "He has been indispensible to the 315 AW as the wing commander, vice commander and serving as chief pilot for the 300th Airlift Squadron and commander of the 701st Airlift Squadron."

"The 315th has been my Air Force home for the past 20 years - the people here are wonderful. They do a great job for the Air Force Reserve and they truly treat each other like family," said Col. Speer, reflecting on his Air Force career. "I've learned about the Air Force core values by watching the members of the 315th and am a better person for serving with them. They've taught me the importance of character, the value of integrity and the true meaning of service. It has been the greatest honor of my life to serve our tremendous country with them."

Col. Speer started his Air Force career in 1984 after graduating from Penn State University and was commissioned through the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program. He separated from active duty and joined the Air Force Reserve in 1991, flying the C-141 Starlifter and C-17A Globemaster III. He is a command pilot and has logged more than 6,500 flying hours in military aircraft.

"Mike has lead with honor and integrity," said Col. Chapman. "I would be remiss if I didn't mention Barb [Col. Speer's wife] and all of her contributions to the 315 AW, as well as being a good friend to Janet and me. Mike, thank you for all of your sacrifices, professionalism and dedication to the men and women of the 315 AW."

After retirement, Col. Russell Fingar will take over as the 315 AW vice commander and serve as the acting commander until Sept. 2010.

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