AMC enlisted force honors Minihan with Order of the Sword

  • Published
  • By Air Mobility Command Public Affairs

The enlisted force of Air Mobility Command bestowed their most prestigious honor – the Order of the Sword – to Gen. Mike Minihan, AMC commander, at a formal ceremony here, May 2, 2024.

The enlisted corps reserves the honor for military senior officers who have made conspicuous and significant contributions to the welfare and prestige of the Air Force enlisted force, mission effectiveness, as well as the overall military establishment, according to Air Force instruction.

Minihan is known for routinely putting personal and genuine investment into the Airmen he leads, tackling issues at both the programmatic and individual level. Less than 3oo Airmen have had the honor bestowed upon them.

“I feel confident having him as commander,” said Airman 1st Class Faith Bagalso, AMC Directorate of Logistics, Engineering and Force Protection. “I love the way he plans and wants to execute things from now into the future of our Air Force. With Mobility Guardian and 10-line, we’re going in a good direction with him.”

Minihan was surprised by AMC command chief, Chief Master Sgt Jamie Newman, at last year’s Airlift Tanker Association Symposium that he would receive the honor.

“Great leaders walk in front of you, beside you, and behind you,” said Newman. “When I first heard that, the first person I thought of was General Minihan,” before recounting several stories he personally experienced and witnessed. The common theme of the stories included connectedness and genuine care for anyone who crosses his path regardless of the rank.

“His legacy will live on, and the impact of his decades and decades of leadership has spread throughout the Air Force and time. I’ve heard lots of stories,” said Newman. “Boss, I’d like to simply say thank you.”

The formal proclamation highlighted Minihan as a “general among generals” who put “sincere personal concern for the well-being of all enlisted men and women” and that his outstanding leadership allowed AMC to “reach new heights of performance, mission readiness, and devotion to a cause to which the enlisted force is willing to swear total dedication and loyalty.”

Some notable examples while serving as AMC commander include significant personal investment in ensuring entire crews were recognized for their actions during Operation Allies Refuge, including Phoenix Ravens, loadmasters, and crew chiefs, who were overlooked during the initial award boards.

He also led, via personal example and investment, the elimination of stigma, lowering of barriers and increasing access and options of mental health care through his Warrior Heart mantra.

He is also known for building a mobility culture focused on common purpose, urgently improving readiness, and cultivating pride and clear understanding of the responsibilities the Mobility Air Forces has in ensuring Joint Force success.

“The most powerful and important weapon we have is you, Airmen…you,” said Minihan. “Thank you for leading me.”

Minihan follows in the footsteps of his father Lt Gen (ret) Kenneth Minihan, who was also recognized with the Order of the Sword in 1994.

“He’s the real deal,” said Minihan. He is who I strive to be. He’s the ghost I chase. The footsteps I follow. The standard I strive for and hope to one day meet.”

Minihan, who is set to retire in September, concluded by reminding the audience, “The greatest gift we give each other is love and respect. In that exchange, I owe you more than I can ever repay. Thank you.”

A tradition whose foundation dates back to the 12th Century, the old “Royal Order of the Sword” ceremony was revised, updated and adopted by the Noncommissioned Officers of the United States Air Force in 1967.