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NEWS | June 12, 2024

433rd Airlift Wing commander takes farewell tour

By Master Sgt. Jacob Lewis 433rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Col. William Gutermuth, 433rd Airlift Wing commander, completed his final military Unit Training Assembly drill weekend for the U.S. Air Force at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland on June 1 and 2. He is set to formally retire from the United States Air Force on July 4, 2024.

For his farewell he wanted to visit the groups, squadrons, flights, and look his Airmen in the eye, shake their hands, express his gratitude, and say goodbye in person.

“Thank you for letting me take a few minutes to say farewell,” said Gutermuth to an audience of 433rd AW Reserve Citizen Airmen at the Bob Hope Theatre at JBSA-Lackland.  “Most of all I wanted to thank you for sharing in service and allowing me to serve alongside you in this wing… I have been impressed that you all have maintained the military standards as Citizen Airmen.”

“It is tough balancing life as a traditional reservist—we ask a lot from you,” Gutermuth said. “We take your weekends away, you all do a lot of hard work, you deploy, you put yourselves in harm’s way and I appreciate you doing that.”

“Being your wing commander has been the pinnacle of my career,” he said. “But this isn’t about me. I will be watching on the sidelines. Be good wing men and look out for each other.”

As part of his farewell tour, Gutermuth wanted to shake as many hands as he could. He stopped and highlighted a few deserving Airmen for their accomplishments by presenting them with a wing commander’s coin.

He recognized Senior Master Sgt. Lisa Anderson, 26th Aerial Port Squadron self-assessment program manager, with a wing commander’s coin for her support to the Inspector General of Inspections team.

“She is always asking questions,” said Master Sgt. William Bonner, 433rd AW IGI and SAPM senior enlisted leader. “She is always there when we have something to take care of or have write ups. She will push and push until she gets an answer. She always makes sure everything is taken care of with a positive attitude and a smile on her face.”

Another member Gutermuth wanted to highlight was a member from the 68th Airlift Squadron.

On May 9, 2024, an SUV rolled over and crashed through the JBSA-Kelly Airfield perimeter fence along Growdon Road, heading North, away from the JBSA-Lackland commercial vehicle gate. Three Alamo Wing Airmen were assisting and providing aid to the two civilians involved. Capt. Michael Fast, 68th AS tactician and C-5 pilot, stopped and verified that everyone was okay and offered assistance.

“You stopped and participated,” Gutermuth said, “and there is a certain bravery and commitment that you exhibited, and I appreciate that. I wanted to present you with the wing commander’s coin.”

U.S. Air Force Airmen are trained in tactical combat casualty care to provide aid, as well as bystander intervention training to step up when someone is in danger. All the Airmen involved embodied several Air Force core values and Gutermuth wanted to emphasize the importance of their actions.

Gutermuth cleared his schedule for his last drill weekend and toured as many units as he could. His final stop was at the 433rd AW Staff UTA stand-down meeting where he presented the Meritorious Service Medal to Master Sgt. Gabriel Maciaz, 433rd Command Post senior enlisted leader, for serving his country honorably. This was also Maciaz’s final UTA before military retirement.

“I am ever so grateful that you are willing to stand up and have the courage to serve for your country, for your families, and for me,” said Gutermuth. “I appreciate you all doing that. Each one of you is important to make it happen. Sometimes it feels like there are hundreds of us and were all interchangeable, but if we all don’t do our part the whole endeavor collapses. Everyone around has to lift each other up and do what you can.”