F-16 Fighting Falcon News

52nd FW welcomes new commander

June 3, 2008 (by SMSgt. Cheryl L. Toner) - Col. Lee T. Wight assumed command of the 52nd FW, June 3, at 9.52 a.m., in a ceremony on Spangdahlem's flight line.

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Relinquishing command was Col. Tom Feldhausen who will move to the Pentagon as the chief of Strategic Integration and Analysis.

Colonel Feldhausen will head a division on the joint staff that creates national military strategy. "The job will be a big change, moving from the daily execution of our Air Force mission to focusing on future issues that affect the entire Department of Defense," he said. "I've already told Colonel Wight that he's taking command of the finest fighter wing in the United States Air Force!"

Wing accomplishments

Colonel Feldhausen commended the wing -- demonstrating excellence while deployed and at home - and said, "It's truly been an honor for me to watch the wing perform day in and day out and I couldn't be prouder of the 52nd."

The outgoing commander said it would be difficult to identify one change that has left the biggest mark in his wake. He said that wing's "stellar performance during our NATO Operational Evaluation was a major, major accomplishment."

While the mission was getting done, and done well, Colonel Feldhausen said every Airman contributes to the wing's success. "I've seen a quantum leap in the level of personal responsibility demonstrated by every member of our Saber Team," he said, while noting that he's seen firsthand the pride everyone has in the base. "The appearance of where we work is an outward symbol of our internal attitude of excellence," he said. "I don't think I've met a single distinguished visitor in the past two years who hasn't remarked on how great the base looks and the pride that is evident across the wing."

Just as Airmen here have left a lasting impression on the colonel, so have both Germany and its people. "Without a doubt, we'll miss the great friends, both German and American we've met. Of all the places we've ever been stationed, the warmth, friendship and support are second to none in the Eifel."

He then thanked all 52nd Fighter Wing Airmen "for making the past four months as commander a truly memorable experience. It's been an honor and I couldn't be prouder to turn over the wing to Colonel Wight."

Looking ahead

Colonel Wight comes to Spangdahlem with a resume that even Donald Trump couldn't turn down. From his deployments to his assignments, the incoming commander certainly brings operational experience to the table, as he recently returned for a year-long tour in Iraq. Add the fact that his wife just retired, and they've spent the last six out of nine years at different locations, Colonel Wight comes to Spangdahlem knowing and understanding the sacrifices that every Airman makes. "My family and I are blessed to have such an incredible opportunity to lead a team as amazing as the Sabers ... it feels like I hit the lottery ... leading a world class team in one of the most beautiful regions of Europe!" he said.
Colonel Wight said the Saber's reputation has preceded itself, noting that, "Everyone I have met has great things to say about the 52nd Fighter Wing."

"I particularly appreciate the sacrifices Colonel Feldhausen and his family have made over the past few months since he didn't have a vice commander to help share the load," said Colonel Wight. "At that level, command is really a team effort."

Colonel Wight is no stranger to Europe or NATO, as he comes from AIRNORTH at Ramstein AB, Germany. While he said he enjoyed the international dialogue of the NATO assignment, he doesn't feel as if he's giving anything up because the wing also has a NATO mission, as well as geographically separated units in four countries.
"It is also a tremendous opportunity to get back into the cockpit and lead from the front," he said, hoping to share his experience gained at various flying assignments, including a year's worth of combat missions over Iraq.


Courtesy 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

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