Former Fairchild vice wing commander retires

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Jason Bailey
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing

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.