It’s been a privilege and honor

  • Published
  • By Col. John C. Sell
  • 21st Medical Group commander
It's been, what seems like, a blink of an eye when on a very hot August 2008 afternoon in Hanger 119, Col. Jay Raymond, then the 21st Space Wing commander, handed me the guidon commencing my tour as commander of the 21st Medical Group.

And now this morning, 35 months later, I relinquish command and without question, leave the best job I've had in my 26 year Air Force career.

What made it the best? Very simple - people.

People like Gen. Jay Raymond and Col. Stephen Whiting, wing commanders who stayed calm, allowed me to lead, listened, supported and trusted me.

People like Al Strait, Rusty Wilson, Kim Conner, Chris Crawford, Emily Buckman, Mark Allen, and Nina Armagno - a great group of leaders to work with who never had a hidden agenda but rather were teammates to get the mission done.

People like Wayne Monteith and Jim Jennings, trusted colleagues and advisors as the 21st Space Wing vice commanders.

People like Marcus Beyerle, Andy Moore, Lori Lee, David Kuch, Wanda McFatter, Dave Chiesa, and Andy Cole, a pool of highly talented squadron commanders who worked and supported me 24/7.

People like Kevin McCoy, Thom Trottier and Carolyn Regan - three outstanding medical group superintendents whose council I relied on frequently - and retired Chief Master Sgt. Tim Omdal who wisely provided guidance in my first year of command. The enlisted force leadership in this wing is strong and thriving.

People like Nate Nidiffer, Kathe Wilson, Terence Mitchell, Erin Peterson, Matt Hanson, Ron Peveto, Ray Cordero and Kevin Garrett who performed magnificently as members of my executive staff.

People like our volunteers Bill DeBoer, Dan McConnell, Irm Cates, Al Wetmore and Morris McCauley who donate their time because it's the right thing to do.

People like Don Brown, Steve Alcock, Rich Holcomb and the TRIWEST team who ensured the quality and timely health care we delivered to our patients was seamless.

People like Gary Hadden, Mike Martin, Denise Miranda, Elsa Simpson, Audrey Hall, Mark Bronson, Brian Baker, Vivienne Davis, Kellie Smith, Wendy Punday, Devalle Wright, Randy Lund, Ric Carlson, Jennifer Martin and of course, my secretary Hilda as well as so many others in the 21st Medical Group who went above and beyond in carrying out the medical mission.

To all of the 500 plus men and women, both past and present, who make up the 21st Medical Group, you're a recognized, proven and distinguished Air Force organization and you have my deepest thanks for what you've done for me as your commander.

You've made it a wonderful command tour for my family and me.

It has been a privilege and honor to serve with you.