18th Air Force Welcomes New Commander
By Maj. Michael Meridith, 18th Air Force
/ Published August 06, 2012
SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. --
Lt. Gen. Darren W. McDew formally assumed command of the 18th Air Force from Lt. Gen. Mark F. Ramsay in a change of command ceremony today at the Scott Club here.
The 18th Air Force is Air Mobility Command's sole warfighting numbered air force, and is responsible for AMC's worldwide operational mission. With more than 39,000 active-duty Airmen and civilians and approximately 1,300 airlift and air refueling aircraft, 18th Air Force manages the Air Force's global mobility enterprise through the 618th Air and Space Operations Center (Tanker Airlift Control Center), 11 active duty wings and two standalone groups.
"To me this is a very special day," said General Raymond E. Johns, Jr., commander of Air Mobility Command, as he addressed the two commanders, mission and community partners, and the command's Airmen gathered for the ceremony. "18th Air Force is the largest Numbered Air Force in our Air Force. At any moment you are touching people all across the globe, delivering hope, fueling the fight, and saving lives."
During Ramsay's tenure the 18th Air Force's total force team executed more than 249,000 airlift sorties; offloaded more than two billion pounds of fuel; and transported more than 1.5 million passengers, 500,000 tons of cargo, and 10,500 patients through aeromedical evacuation (with an average 98% survival rate for wounded patients).
"All you have to do is watch the news and look at the world hot spots that are making the news," said Ramsay. "We've already looked around the corner and tried to figure out what's going to happen and how we're going to get there. Nothing happens until something moves and that's what the team that's assembled here does."
In answering the call to carry out their critical mission, the men and women of the 18th Air Force also integrated active duty and reserve component forces to ensure the success of their worldwide missions. Those missions included support to the completion of NATO air operations over Libya, in which 18th Air Force tankers flew nearly 4,700 sorties offloading more than 173 million lbs. of fuel to 12,000 aircraft - by far, the majority of fuel provided for the operation.
As the top officer in 18th Air Force, Ramsay simultaneously served as the commander of U.S. Strategic Command's Task Force 294, ensuring total force KC-135s were continuously ready to provide air refueling capability for that command. He also led mobility Airmen in several major accomplishments, including last year's massive effort returning more than 34,000 tons of equipment and 95,000 personnel from Iraq at the end of Operation NEW DAWN; multimodal operations worldwide which partnered air mobility forces with their sea and land counterparts to efficiently and rapidly move Army Combat Aviation Brigades in and out of Afghanistan; and Mobility Support Advisory missions in South and Central America, and Africa, that enhanced U.S. relations with partner nations.
Ramsay has commanded the 18th Air Force since September 2011 and moves on to his next assignment as the Director of Force Structure, Resources, and Assessment on the Joint Staff, the Pentagon, Washington DC.
McDew is the seventh commander of 18th Air Force since its reactivation in 2003. Prior to this assignment, he served as the Commander, Air Force District of Washington, Andrews Air Force Base, Md., from December 2010 to July 2012. He has served at Scott Air Force Base twice before; as the 375th Air Mobility Wing commander from January 2002 to July 2003 and as 18th Air Force's Vice Commander from July 2006 to November 2007.
"Many things have changes since I left as the 18th Air Force Vice Commander," said McDew. "What hasn't changed is Mobility Airmen. You still have a commitment to success. You still have a commitment and a dedication to selfless service. And I am still proud of you. "