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Maj. Gen. Reed says farewell to Third Air Force, looks back on tenure

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Christian Conrad
  • Armed Forces Netwrok Kaiserslautern

Maj. Gen. Randall Reed, Third Air Force and Kaiserslautern Military Community commander, conducted his final commander’s call May 18, 2022, during a ceremony at the Officers’ Club on Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

From the COVID-19 pandemic to Operations Allies Welcome and Allies Resolve to the recent Russian aggression against Ukraine, Reed’s two years in his post was nothing short of storied.

The swirl of cataclysmic events that pervaded the globe since 2020 wasn’t the key mark of Reed’s tenure, but rather the steady hand with which he led the 32,000 Airmen and Guardians under his command through them.

Gen. Jeffrey Harrigan, U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa commander, was also in attendance during the call and presented Reed with the Distinguished Service Medal, noting to those in attendance that, “(Reed would) always provide me with the appropriate advice of where we needed to go.”

True to his “people first” leadership style, Reed used some of his final moments as the 3rd AF commander lauding not his own toil in his role, but that of the service members he met and was, in his words, “privileged” to serve alongside of over the past two years.

From Airmen at Spangdahlem Air Base’s 52nd Fighter Wing who, through their own generosity, supplied military couples with “kits for date nights” in an effort to help them reconnect amid the pandemic to the work of those who led the effort in providing temporary housing to over 35,000 Afghan evacuees during Operation Allies Refuge, it seemed to be Reed’s intent during his speech to leave no stone unturned–no service member left un-thanked across his command’s 10 wings.

Reed relented, though, admitting words could scarcely capture his feelings of saying farewell to the area.

“To my beloved wings, I’m at a loss at how to describe our time together,” Reed said.

On the horizon for Reed is a promotion to the rank of lieutenant general, and a new role as the deputy commander of Air Mobility Command at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. There, he’ll serve under Gen. Mike Minihan, AMC commander.

Reed’s replacement will also perhaps be a familiar one. Maj. Gen. Derek France, director of operations, strategic deterrence and nuclear integration for U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa, works out of Ramstein and has been tapped to fill the seat vacated by Reed. His assumption of command is expected to take place sometime next month, officials said.