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NEWS | June 4, 2014

From the 437th commander

By Col. Johnny Lamontagne 437th Airlift Wing commander

Thank you for the warm welcome to the 437th Airlift Wing and Joint Base Charleston. In short, our reception to the "Low Country" was exceptional and our family - me, my wife Becky and our daughters Emily, Meganand Sarah are thrilled to be back. We look forward to meeting all of you and we are honored to join the team. It has been just over a week since I assumed command, and I can't help but feel like I've walked into something special. I'm so proud to be a part of this group of world-class, war-fighting professionals.
As your commander, my priorities are simple and hopefully easy for everyone to remember. As an Airlift Wing, we are a critical part of the Mobility Air Forces, or MAF and my top three priorities: Mission, Airmen, and Fun form that same MAF acronym.


The mission of the 437th is vitally important to the security of our nation. When our combatant commanders call for rapid global mobility, the 437th delivers. From the beaches of Normandy to the mountains of Afghanistan, the 437th Airlift Wing has a proud heritage of excellence and service. We will continue this tradition of excellence by training high caliber mission generators and operators, along with our Reserve counterparts in the 315th AW, and outstanding installation support from our mission partners in the 628th Air Base Wing. Never lose sight of the fact that the mission is primary. The mission is why we wear this great uniform and operate from this great base. Knowing your job and doing it the right way, all the way, all the time is critical for us to continue to safely provide precise, reliable airlift worldwide.


You, the collective Airmen, are the key to mission execution. Without you, our aircraft would become expensive static displays. As your commander, I care about your well being, your growth, and your families. I give you that same charge - to care for each other. Taking care of Airmen is even more important as we negotiate force management programs over the coming year. For some, these programs provide exciting opportunities to pursue personal career goals outside of the military; while for others they are an additional source of stress and uncertainty. We will take care of all Airmen, those staying and those who are leaving. For those who are leaving, especially involuntarily, I am tasking leadership from the flight to my level to help identify smooth transitions during this difficult time.


Although these are certainly challenging times, it is also important for all of us to have some fun.

This is a great Air Force and as Airmen we are afforded some incredible opportunities. This job is amazing so have fun doing it! Do so in the context of a safe environment where everyone is treated with dignity and respect. I will not tolerate Airmen hurting Airmen or having fun at someone else's expense. We can't afford it, and I won't tolerate it. Now don't get me wrong, I know that work is not always going to be fun ... after all, business is business and combat is combat, but we do need to recognize that we can also have a lot of fun ... both in uniform and out of uniform, on-duty and off-duty, on-base and off-base. I've already have had a lot of fun in my first week ... at a Maintenance Group ultimate Frisbee game (even though my team lost), at the master sergeant selection party (a hearty congratulations to all of the selects), and finally at the Charleston RiverDogs Military Appreciation Night (free fun). I'm looking forward to a lot more fun with the rest of the team.

Once again, thank you for the warm welcome. I am extremely honored and humbled to join this team. I look forward to working with you to get the mission done, take care of Airmen and their families, and last but not least ... to have some fun! Together, we will carry on the tradition of excellence that is the hallmark of the 437th Airlift Wing and Joint Base Charleston.