Friday, May 08, 2015

EDITORIAL >> Col. Rhatigan, farewell friend

Col. Patrick Rhatigan will step down later this month as commander of the 19th Airlift Wing and retire from the Air Force after 22 years of outstanding service to our nation.

His successor, Col. Charles E. Brown Jr., takes over the 19th Airlift Wing in a change- of-command ceremony May 27. This will be a homecoming for Brown, who was previously commander of the 62nd Airlift Squadron at Little Rock Air Force Base.

Brown is vice commander of the 374th Airlift Wing at Yokota Air Base in Japan. He will return home while LRAFB’s mission has hardly slowed since Sept. 11, 2001: The base continues deployments to Asia and the Middle East nonstop as it has for the last 14 years in the war on terror. Another group left for Southwest Asia on Monday. The picture on today’s front page of Staff Sgt. Jerrica Wild, a mother saying farewell to her young children, tells you more than 1,000 stories could say about the sacrifices our men and women in the military make every day.

The mission remains intense even as the military must operate with fewer resources. Politicians will cut their budget even as they expect our military to do more. Col. Rhatigan has spoken out against sequestration that cuts the military budget even as the war continues. We salute him for doing that.

The men and women in the military seldom complain. Col. Rhatigan has been their fearless leader. The military will miss his leadership and so will we. Come on home, Charlie Brown.