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Meet the newest commander at Scott Air Force Base

Lt. Gen. Giovanni Tuck (left), 18th Air Force commander, presents the 375th Air Mobility Wing guidon to Col. John Howard, signifying the start of his command of the wing during a change of command ceremony July 24, 2017 at Scott Air Force Base, Ill.

CHAD GORECKI/U.S. AIR FORCE

By GAREN VARTANIAN | Belleville News-Democrat | Published: July 24, 2017

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. (Tribune News Service) — Scott Air Force Base has a new commander in charge.

Col. John O. Howard assumed command of the 375th Air Mobility Wing from Col. Laura L. Lenderman during a change of command ceremony Monday morning at the Scott Parade Field.

Howard previously served as the 100th Air Refueling Wing vice commander at Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England.

“What a wonderful day today; this has been absolutely fantastic,” Howard said to the crowd after officially assuming command. “To the men and women of the 375th Air Mobility Wing, I am absolutely thrilled to be serving as your next commander. As the Air Force celebrates its 75th birthday and the base celebrates its centennial anniversary, I look forward to working with and getting to know each and every one of you as we continue to extend the legacy of the great Airmen that came before us.”

Howard thanked his friends and family for attending, while also expressing gratitude to his wife Dana.

“Dana, thank you for joining me on this adventure and providing support every step of the way,” he said. “It’s not easy being a military spouse, and I don’t always do the best to recognize the sacrifices that families make. But you always make it look so easy. So thank you very, very much. To all my friends and family, thanks for coming out and sharing this incredible moment with me as well.”

Col. John O. Howard is the new 375th Air Mobility Wing commander at Scott Air Force Base. He replaced Col. Laura Lenderman in a change of command ceremony Monday.

Howard also praised Lenderman, stating, “Laura, through your leadership and personal sacrifice, you have built a truly high performing team.”

According to a press release, Howard graduated from Tufts University and has served in various positions. In addition, Howard served as the Aide-de-Camp to the commander of U.S. Pacific Command and the commander of U.S. Central Command, commanded the 572nd Global Mobility Squadron at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., and was selected as an Air Force National Security Studies Fellow to Stanford University.

Meanwhile, Lenderman, who assumed command of the 375th Air Mobility Wing in August 2015, is moving on to United States Transportation Command, also located at Scott. She said serving as the Scott commander “has been a dream come true.”

Overall, Lenderman’s impact at the base has been profound, from implementing Innovation, Communication and Excellence — or “ICE”— to helping guide the base through its centennial in 2017. For her achievements, Lenderman was presented the Legion of Merit award Monday.

“Thank you so much for being here today,” said Lenderman, who lived at Scott as a youth during the early 1980s. “What a beautiful morning at Scott Air Force Base. I am truly grateful to have had the privilege to serve as the commander of AMC’s showcase wing. Thank you to my Air Force family the last two years — it’s truly been an honor to serve with each and every one of you. We are AMC’s showcase wing, the wing where everyone wants to live and work. Words simply are not enough to express my gratitude to have served with you.”

Lenderman thanked numerous individuals, including Chief Master Sergeant Wesley Mathias, the command chief master sergeant of the 375th Air Mobility Wing.

“It’s hard to find the right words for Chief Mathias,” Lenderman said. “He’s one of a kind. No matter what the situation, Chief Mathias, you’ve been by my side every step of the way.”

Lt. Col. Giovanni Tuck, the 18th Air Force commander, praised both Howard and Lenderman. Tuck — who assumed command of the 18th Air Force on June 1 — was host of the ceremony.

“Both Airmen have exuded the Air Force core values,” he said. “Laura, I want to thank you for these last 10 years, especially what you have done here at Scott Air Force Base. We welcome John. He is an outstanding choice. We are honored to have him. Everything he’s done has prepared him to be here. It’s an absolutely amazing day.”

Howard said he looks forward to working with Tuck.

“Lt. Gen. Tuck, sir, thank you for this opportunity to lead the men and women of the 375th Air Mobility Wing. I look forward to working with you and the other wing commanders in the 18th Air Force,” Howard said.

Many local dignitaries attended Monday’s event, including Jerry Costello, the former U.S. Representative for Illinois’ 12th congressional district. Also attending were Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert, O’Fallon Mayor Herb Roach, Swansea Mayor Mike Leopold, Mascoutah Mayor Jerry Daugherty, Fairview Heights Mayor Mark Kupsky, Collinsville Mayor John Miller and Troy Mayor Allen Adomite, among others.

©2017 the Belleville News-Democrat (Belleville, Ill.)
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