WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. --
The 131st Logistics Readiness Squadron gained a new leader Saturday, as Maj. Rachel Savage assumed command of the unit here.
Savage was promoted to the rank of major in a promotion ceremony that directly preceded the assumption of command, two events that rarely occur back to back in the Air National Guard, according to Brig. Gen. Michael J. Francis, Missouri National Guard assistant adjutant general-air and former 131st Bomb Wing commander. He spoke on the significance of commanding a squadron.
“The squadron is the core organization that carries out the
mission,” said Francis. “As the commander, you are setting the vision.”
Francis said that he had known Savage from her days on
active duty working as a public affairs officer for the 509th Bomb Wing. Savage
transitioned to the Guard as the wing executive officer, working for Francis.
In this capacity, she also assumed the role of the wing’s Sexual Assault
Response Coordinator, protocol officer, full-time public affairs officer and
“You are getting somebody very special,” Francis told the
audience, largely comprised of Citizen-Airmen of the LRS. “She has had a
profound influence on me, and she has made me a much better commander. She is
truly one of the most outstanding junior officers that I have ever worked
“It certainly is a privilege to get to command in the Air
Force,” Col. Michael Jurries, 131st Mission Support Group commander, told
Savage prior to passing to her the LRS guidon. The hand-off of the unit guidon
is a military tradition that signifies the assumption of command.
Jurries cited four characteristics that a commander must
have to be successful: family, faith, fitness and clarity of the mission, and
noted that Savage has proven herself extremely capable of leading the unit by
virtue of her abundance of those leadership traits.
“As Maj. Savage starts her journey in command, I am sure it
is the first of what will be several command positions in her career,” Jurries
After assuming command, Savage addressed the crowd and
thanked her family and guests in attendance. She then spoke specifically to the
Airmen now in her charge about the importance of the LRS mission to the safety
and readiness of the entire wing, whether deployed in conflict or at home in
Missouri in response to a local disaster.
“Each of us executes a function that is critical to missions
we support around the globe. Always remember that though we do not see our
enemy and feel their hate, our enemies are alive and well,” she said, adding,
“We have a special trust from people of Missouri when serving in various
disasters and scenarios. Continue preparing as you so diligently have been for
state emergency duties to come.”