Ramstein’s new leader is a seasoned airlift squadron commander
RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — The largest wing in the Air Force has a new leader.
Brig. Gen. Mark R. August took command Thursday of the 86th Airlift Wing, a job that puts him in charge of more than 8,500 airmen in four locations across Europe and the busiest U.S. military airport on the Continent.
August took command from Brig. Gen. Richard G. Moore Jr., who led the wing for two years. Moore will remain at Ramstein, as he’s been picked to be the chief of staff for U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa.
“Thank you and we’ll see you around the campus,” Moore told airmen, civilians and German officials assembled in the dual bay hangar for the morning ceremony.
For August, the job at Ramstein is a homecoming of sorts, marking his third assignment at the base in southwestern Germany.
“It’s a dream to be stationed at Ramstein once,” said Lt. Gen. Richard M. Clark, the Third Air Force commander who presided over the ceremony. “But to get stationed here a third time, the odds of that are lower than getting struck by a meteor, attacked by a shark, all while holding a winning lottery ticket.”
But Clark said August’s new assignment didn’t come down to luck. “You were handpicked as exactly the right person for this job at exactly the right time.”
In the late 1990s, August spent three years at Ramstein as the chief pilot scheduler for the 37th Airlift Squadron. He came back in 2007 for three years, serving first as the 37th Airlift Squadron’s director of operations before becoming the squadron commander. The squadron and its fleet of C-130Js is the lone tactical airlift for U.S. European and Africa commands.
August also commanded the 374th Airlift Wing at Yokota Air Base in Japan from 2012 to 2014.
Clark, in thanking Moore for his “steadfast leadership,” cited several noteworthy projects and missions the wing completed under his watch, including its response to the ambush of U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers in Niger in October. Four Americans were killed and two were wounded when the troops were overrun and outgunned in the village of Tongo Tongo by about 50 fighters who claimed allegiance to the Islamic State.
“You rapidly launched two C-130s that recovered the remains of the fallen” and transported the injured back to Germany for medical treatment “in just 12 hours, more than 2,000 miles from the battlefield,” Clark said.
Clark also noted that the Ramstein medical clinic under Moore’s leadership streamlined the scheduling process for medical appointments, reducing the wait time for care.
Even the 86th Airlift Wing chaplain, Col. Donnette Boyd, remarked on events of the last two years, with a tongue-in-cheek reference to “the tragedy” of the burning down of the base Burger King to the opening of a P.F. Chang’s restaurant.
August comes to Ramstein after serving as the Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration assistant deputy director of operations at Air Mobility Command.
“All Gen. Moore’s policies are still in effect,” August said to airmen.
“Our nation, the United States Air Force in Europe and Third Air Force expect us to do our absolute best.”