Getting personal: The whole wide Wing
July 11, 2007
UK weekly edition, Wednesday, July 11, 2007
To say that Col. Kimberly Toney commands a dispersed unit would be an understatement. Since taking command of the 501st Combat Support Wing a few weeks ago, she now oversees a variety of logistical and administrative needs for eight scattered air bases around England, known in military speak as “geographically separated units.” Everything from the hush-hush proceedings at RAF Menwith Hill to RAFs Croughton, Alconbury, Fairford and a host of others, Toney oversees them all.
Coming off a command stint with the 31st Mission Support Group at Aviano Air Base, Italy, Toney sat down with Stars and Stripes to discuss her move.
So welcome to England. How does it feel to be here? It’s fantastic. I didn’t think I’d stay in the USAFE arena. Transitioning to a wing command is an honor and a privilege.
Good to hear. As you’re probably finding out, the exchange rate here is staggering. You got any plans for handling that? Having lived with the euro, it was a kinder, gentler version. I can adjust as a senior leader. What concerns me are the airmen. Unfortunately they end up not going out on the economy as much as they should. You always want your personnel to go out. By having a high exchange rate, we scare our young airmen. They miss out on the culture.
So are you basically settled? What remains to be done, personally and professionally? I am. Personally, I had a house waiting, and that was pretty nice. Professionally, I think it takes a few months. We’re going through a time of transition.
So what got you into the Air Force, and what do you like about it? My father was in the Air Force. We moved around my entire life. I knew I wanted to go into the Air Force when I went to college.
What’s the hardest part about Air Force life that those on the outside might not know? Understanding the movement, the commitment and what our families sacrifice.
Let’s go light. What is your favorite TV show, food, movie and musician? I really like the news channels, the CNN. I really enjoy Mexican food, all kinds. I really enjoy what Disney brings to families. I like all kinds of music. At this time of year, Lee Greenwood comes to mind.
Any places you’re particularly excited about visiting while stationed here? I’m excited about the whole U.K. area and the history that the whole area offers. And I love musicals. If I could go to London and just spend a few days there, I would.