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General Handy last flight
Brig. Gen. Russell J. Handy parks his F-15C aircraft for the last time as the commander of the 57th Wing at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., July 14. General Handy relinquished command of the U.S. Air Force's most diverse flying wing to Brig. Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy during a change of command ceremony at 7:57 a.m. July 16. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brett Clashman)
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General Handy bids farwell to the 57th Wing

Posted 7/16/2010   Updated 7/16/2010 Email story   Print story

    


by Senior Airman Michael Charles
Nellis Public Affairs Office


7/16/2010 - NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- Not many officers have the privilege of becoming the commander of a wing which directly affects overseas contingency operations as much as the 57th Wing.

For the past two years under the leadership of Brig. Gen. Russell Handy, the 57th Wing has taken the lead on many of the Air Force's most advanced exercises and training opportunities. "Over the past two years I have learned just how important what our Airmen do here is to the overall picture of the Air Force."

General Handy assumed command of the Air Force's most diverse flying wing in January 2008 with the goal of making sure the 57th Wing continued to lead the way in terms of training and operational readiness.

"I'm proud of how much of a strategic impact the Airmen of the 57th Wing have had on the total Air Force," General Handy said.

The 57th Wing achieved many accomplishments in the last two years, such as, standing up brand new instructor courses at the U.S. Air Force Weapons School, transitioning the aircraft inventory of the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron "Thunderbirds" from block 32 to block 52 F-16s and doubling the joint terminal attack controller production in the Air-Ground Operations School.

"Each component of this wing has received numerous accolades during my tenure as the 57th Wing commander," said General Handy. "It makes me happy to see how much of a long term impact that the few Airman have had in this wing."

General Handy's priorities did not end with the operations side of the 57th Wing; he made it his main objective to bring it a sense of family.

"I had many goals when taking over as the 57th Wing commander but none were bigger than my first priority of developing Airmen," General Handy said. "Sometimes when going into an operational wing you feel a sort of family atmosphere because of deployment tempo. What I wanted to do was bring that sense of unity to the wing family by taking care of our Airmen and their families."

General Handy believes the dedicated Airmen of the 57th Wing are the key to making the wing successful.

"I thank the Airmen for the 10 to 13 hour days they regularly work on the flightline when its more than 100 degrees outside, turning wrenches, knowing that there may be another day ahead doing the same thing," General Handy said. "I have seen the dedication, duty and honor the Airmen have displayed in serving our nation to the best of their ability."

General Handy has been selected to take over as the Air Component Coordination Element director, U.S. Forces- Iraq and 9th Air Expeditionary Task Force, commander in Baghdad. He will relinquish command of the 57th Wing to Brig. Gen. Terrence O'Shaughnessy during a ceremony at 7:57 a.m., July 16, on the Nellis flightline near the Raptor Aircraft Maintenance Unit.

"There is no place more important to ensure that every training dollar and ounce of fuel is effectively utilized than here at Nellis," General Handy said. "The Airmen of Nellis and Creech Air Force Bases are important to the overall Air Force mission. My wife, JoAnn, and I have been proud to serve here at Nellis for the second time, and are looking forward to going on to other things, but will always cherish the time we had here."



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