RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — Two commands changed hands Thursday as Brig. Gen. Rosanne Bailey relinquished her titles of 435th Air Base Wing commander and Kaiserslautern Military Community commander to a pair of colonels.
Col. Kurtis D. Lohide was installed as 435th Air Base Wing commander at a Thursday afternoon ceremony, but did not inherit Bailey’s command of the Kaiserslautern Military Community.
That job now belongs to Col. Robert Kane, 86th Airlift Wing commander. Kane formally took over as KMC commander following Thursday’s ceremony. Currently a colonel, Kane is awaiting congressional endorsement for his first star.
The decision to make Kane commander of the KMC was that of Gen. Robert Foglesong, U.S. Air Forces in Europe commander, said 1st Lt. Elizabeth Culbertson, USAFE public affairs action officer.
The switch is because of an impending shift set to take place at Ramstein.
The base is preparing to accept a large increase in U.S. military air traffic when Rhein-Main Air Base closes at the end of the year. For roughly the past two years, Ramstein has been in the midst of $385 million improvement project in anticipation of the increased traffic.
During that rebuilding mode, the role of KMC commander was better served by a logistics commander, according to a 435th Air Base Wing news release.
Now with the majority of construction near completion — including the expansion of its runway — the base is moving toward an increase in flight operations.
“That’s why you have an operational flying commander overseeing the operation of this base,” Kane said.
And a brigadier general will once again staff the role of KMC commander once Kane receives his promotion.
Bailey began her term as KMC commander and 435th Air Base Wing commander on Jan. 15, 2004. She will be reassigned as commander of Cheyenne Mountain Operations Center at Cheyenne Mountain Air Station, Colo.
After ending her speech in which she thanked all those in attendance, Bailey had some encouraging words for her successor.
“Col. Lohide, welcome to the best air base wing in the Air Force,” she said.
Lohide comes to Ramstein from Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., where he served as commander of the 99th Mission Support Group.
He opened his speech Thursday with a joke about how while in Las Vegas people sometimes mistake him and his wife for Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson, who recently performed at Ramstein.
An avid marathon runner, Lohide recently finished the 26-plus miles of the San Diego marathon in less than four hours. He said he kept 26 coherent beliefs — one for each mile — in his mind during the marathon to keep his mind off the pain.
He listed those in his speech Thursday.
“I believe that the appearance of impropriety is impropriety,” he said. “I believe if you walk by a problem, you are part of the problem.”