Tampa Tribune: MacDill's New Leader Finds Longtime Support
Jul 29, 2012 -
A new commander is being welcomed at MacDill Air Force Base just as Tampa area civilians are preparing for another political fight to protect base funding.
In addition to a long list of strategic reasons for the Department of Defense to keep MacDill a top priority, the community support for the base and its military and civilian employees is impressive and impossible to miss.
Many local leaders were at the base Friday morning to see the change of command ceremony, a tradition said to date to Frederick the Great of Prussia. It was an exercise in crisp discipline that characterizes the military and another chance for the community and the base to strengthen ties.
When Col. Lenny Richoux gave his farewell salute as commander of 6th Air Mobility Wing and MacDill Air Force Base, a large contingent of his Tampa friends was impressed and touched. After two years in Tampa, Richoux is heading to Belgium to help run NATO.
The New Orleans native left a big impression here, seeking new ways to strengthen relations between the base and the community, including working with the school system. But Richoux never lost focus on the refueling wing and its many duties, including quickly mobilizing to serve the jets carrying out bombing raids over Libya.
He will be missed. But Richoux's replacement, Col. Scott DeThomas, can be expected to be equally committed to strengthening MacDill and nurturing community support.
That support was on display later Friday at a Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce meeting downtown. Three members of the local congressional delegation — Kathy Castor, Gus Bilirakis, and Dennis Ross — led a discussion on the need to lobby hard for the base.
Republican representatives Ross and Bilirakis joined Democrat Castor in emphasizing the danger of across-the-board cuts that are scheduled to take effect in January...(read more)
Note: Dennis Ross voted NO on the legislation that called for sequestration.