Former Fairchild vice wing commander retires

Col. Marc Van Wert, 92nd Air Refueling Wing vice commander, leads the color guard as they prepare to present the colors at Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., Aug. 8, 2012. The change of command is a tradition that represents a formal transfer of authority and responsibility for a unit from one commander to the next. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ryan Zeski)

Col. Marc Van Wert, 92nd Air Refueling Wing vice commander, leads the color guard as they prepare to present the colors at Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., Aug. 8, 2012. The change of command is a tradition that represents a formal transfer of authority and responsibility for a unit from one commander to the next. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ryan Zeski)

Col. Marc Van Wert, 92nd Air Refueling Wing vice commander, speaks during an honor service for the Missing in America Project at Washington State Veteran’s Cemetery in Medical Lake, Wash., Sept. 12. The honor service is the largest mass honor service for the Missing in America Project in the nation to date. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Staff Sgt. Michael Means)

Col. Marc Van Wert, 92nd Air Refueling Wing vice commander, speaks during an honor service for the Missing in America Project at Washington State Veteran’s Cemetery in Medical Lake, Wash., Sept. 12. The honor service is the largest mass honor service for the Missing in America Project in the nation to date. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Staff Sgt. Michael Means)

Col. Paul Guemmer, 92nd Air Refueling Wing commander, and Col. Marc Van Wert, 92nd Air Refueling Wing vice commander, reviews the troops at the change of command ceremony at Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., Aug. 6, 2012. The change of command is a tradition that represents a formal transfer of authority and responsibility for a unit from one commander to the next. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ryan Zeski)

Col. Paul Guemmer, 92nd Air Refueling Wing commander, and Col. Marc Van Wert, 92nd Air Refueling Wing vice commander, reviews the troops at the change of command ceremony at Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., Aug. 6, 2012. The change of command is a tradition that represents a formal transfer of authority and responsibility for a unit from one commander to the next. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ryan Zeski)

Col. Marc Van Wert, 92nd Air Refueling Wing vice commander, speaks with Team Fairchild members during the “Cougar Salute to Our Armed Forces” barbeque in the Armed Forces Reserve Center at Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., April 18, 2012. Van Wert emphasized the important relationship Air Force bases have with their host communities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ryan Zeski/Released)

Col. Marc Van Wert, 92nd Air Refueling Wing vice commander, speaks with Team Fairchild members during the “Cougar Salute to Our Armed Forces” barbeque in the Armed Forces Reserve Center at Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., April 18, 2012. Van Wert emphasized the important relationship Air Force bases have with their host communities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ryan Zeski/Released)

Col. Marc C. Van Wert, 92 Air Refueling Wing vice commander, throws the first pitch at a Spokane Indians baseball game at the Avista Stadium, Spokane, Wash.,  July 22, 2011. The Spokane Indians are the class A short-season affiliate of the Texas Rangers. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Taylor Curry)

Col. Marc C. Van Wert, 92 Air Refueling Wing vice commander, throws the first pitch at a Spokane Indians baseball game at the Avista Stadium, Spokane, Wash., July 22, 2011. The Spokane Indians are the class A short-season affiliate of the Texas Rangers. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Taylor Curry)

Col. Paul Guemmer, 92nd Air Refueling Wing commander, lands a KC-135 Stratotanker on Fairchild’s newly constructed runway Nov. 2. It was the first plane to touchdown here in almost a year following the $43.6 million reconstruction. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Taylor Curry)

Col. Paul Guemmer, 92nd Air Refueling Wing commander, lands a KC-135 Stratotanker on Fairchild’s newly constructed runway Nov. 2. It was the first plane to touchdown here in almost a year following the $43.6 million reconstruction. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Taylor Curry)

A bulldozer controlled by a contractor dumps crushed concrete into a two-bedded dump truck so the concrete can be hauled to Fairchild’s new runway.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Earlandez Young)

A bulldozer controlled by a contractor dumps crushed concrete into a two-bedded dump truck so the concrete can be hauled to Fairchild’s new runway. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Earlandez Young)

Seven KC-135 Stratotankers ascend from the flight line Nov. 3, 2013, at Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash.  Thirteen aircraft took off in less than nine minutes during a joint training mission that included aircrews from Fairchild AFB and McConnell AFB. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Veronica Montes)

Seven KC-135 Stratotankers ascend from the flight line Nov. 3, 2013, at Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash. Thirteen aircraft took off in less than nine minutes during a joint training mission that included aircrews from Fairchild AFB and McConnell AFB. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Veronica Montes)

KC-135 Stratotankers taxi along the runway at Fairchild Air Force Base, Nov. 3, 2013. Thirteen KC-135 Stratotankers from Fairchild and McConnell Air Force Base practiced taking off in rapid succession. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Samantha Krolikowski)

KC-135 Stratotankers taxi along the runway at Fairchild Air Force Base, Nov. 3, 2013. Thirteen KC-135 Stratotankers from Fairchild and McConnell Air Force Base practiced taking off in rapid succession. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Samantha Krolikowski)

Van Wert Retires
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Misty Van Wert pins the retirement pin onto her husband, Col. Marc Van Wert, Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps Detachment 145 commander, during his retirement ceremony, June 7th, 2018 at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington. After serving 28 years in the Air Force, Van Wert returned to Fairchild for his retirement. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Samantha Krolikowski)

Van Wert retires
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Brig. Gen. Paul Guemmer, Total Force- Continuum military deputy, Strategic Plans and Programs deputy chief of staff, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington D.C., presents the certificate of retirement to Col. Marc Van Wert, Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps Detachment 145 commander, during his retirement ceremony, June 7th, 2018 at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington. Van Wert was a former 92nd Air Refueling Wing vice commander and has flown more than 3,000 hours and earned qualifications on five aircraft, including the KC-135 Stratotanker. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Samantha Krolikowski)

Col. Paul Guemmer, 92nd Air Refueling Wing commander, is greeted by Col. Marc Van Wert, 92nd ARW vice commander, after completing his final flight at Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., July 17, 2012. The final flight is an aviation tradition in which aircrew members, upon completion of their last flight with the wing, or "fini flight," are met and hosed down with water by their unit comrades, family and friends. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ryan Zeski)
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Col. Paul Guemmer, 92nd Air Refueling Wing commander, is greeted by Col. Marc Van Wert, 92nd ARW vice commander, after completing his final flight at Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., July 17, 2012. The final flight is an aviation tradition in which aircrew members, upon completion of their last flight with the wing, or "fini flight," are met and hosed down with water by their unit comrades, family and friends. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ryan Zeski)

Van Wert retires
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Brig. Gen. Paul Guemmer, Total Force- Continuum military deputy, Strategic Plans and Programs deputy chief of staff, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington D.C., presents the Legion of Merit to Col Marc Van Wert, Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps Detachment 145 commander, during his retirement ceremony June 7th, 2018 at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington. Van Wert was the vice commander from 2011 to 2013 and deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Samantha Krolikowski)

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. --

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash.—Former 92nd Air Refueling Wing vice commander, Col. Marc Van Wert, could have held his retirement ceremony anywhere, like in Florida, his last duty station. Instead, he chose to return to Fairchild to wrap up his 28 year career. 

He first joined the Air Force in 1990, and has earned qualifications on five aircraft, including the KC-135 Stratotanker. As a command pilot, he has flown more than 3,000 hours and earned decorations like the Defense Superior Service Medal and Legion of Merit.

“His character, intellect and leadership abilities were instrumental to the success of this wing,” said Brig. Gen. Paul Guemmer, Total Force-Continuum military deputy, Strategic Plans and Programs deputy chief of staff, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.

Guemmer was the 92nd ARW commander, during Van Wert’s time at Fairchild.

Van Wert managed countless readiness exercises and inspections at Fairchild from 2011 to 2013. He oversaw operations out of alternate locations during nine months of runway repairs at Fairchild, deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and more.

“Any single one of those events you could call significant,” Guemmer said. “All of them happening together, I would say, was unprecedented.”

Van Wert was last assigned to Detachment 145 at Florida State University.

It was my experience working with him at Fairchild that led to my decision to hire him as commander and professor of aerospace studies for FSU in 2015, Guemmer said.

“It was the easiest decision I’ve ever made,” Guemmer said. “He’s the kind of officer you want to train your next generation of officers.”

This was reflected in Van Wert’s advice to 26 newly commissioned lieutenants at FSU.

“I would’ve traded my eagles for their bars and do the whole 28 years (of service) all over again,” said Van Wert.

Van Wert reflected on his time spent in the Air Force, and at Fairchild.

“It’s amazing what Airmen are doing to serve the Air Force,” Van Wert said. “It was a privilege and honor to work for Gen. Guemmer when I came to Fairchild.”

Guemmer officiated Van Wert’s retirement ceremony here, June 7, 2018.

“I was incredibly lucky to have an Airman and leader the caliber of Marc Van Wert,” Guemmer said.

Van Wert said there were three great things he experienced in the Air Force: leaders, Airmen and the mission.

“Fairchild has one of the most important missions in the Air Force,” Van Wert said. “Keep focusing on the mission and community partnership and keep doing great things.”

He also stressed the importance of having a network of support can have on your service.

“When you can execute the mission and change on the spot...none of that could’ve happened without our family and support,” Van Wert said.