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Vice Commander bids Team Goodfellow farewell
Col. David Rearick, 17th Training Wing Vice Commander. (Courtesy photo)
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Vice Commander bids Team Goodfellow farewell

Posted 6/14/2011   Updated 6/14/2011 Email story   Print story


by Senior Airman Anne Gathua
17th Training Wing Public Affairs

6/14/2011 - GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- After 25 years of service, Col. David Rearick, 17th Training Wing Vice Commander, retires Monday, during a ceremony in the Event Center.

Serving his last two years here, Colonel Rearick, has held various operational, staff and joint assignments in Asia, Europe and the United States as a flight chief, communications inspector, staff officer, executive officer, deputy commander and commander.

Commissioned through Officer Training School, the colonel has two bachelors and a masters degree under his belt and urged Airmen to make education a priority.

"Go to school and get your education," he said. "It truly is a life changer."

Among his awards and decorations are the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters, the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal and Humanitarian Service Medal.

Sharing some of his secrets to success, Colonel Rearick said Airmen of all ranks should never miss an opportunity to positively impact a subordinate's life.

"I missed or wasted far too many opportunities," he said. "While I made a positive difference many times, there are exponentially more times I never took the time to engage, and now my time is up. It takes tremendous effort to always engage but strive to have no regrets."

Reminding second lieutenants to salute first lieutenants, the colonel asked them not to bow to all the peer pressure that says there is no rank amongst lieutenants. "It's the first test of leadership; do you follow the crowd or do what's right?" He also encourages them to be club members regardless of what the dues cost or if they will ever use the club.

"Dues help bring morale, welfare and recreation activities to Airmen," he added. "Every time you pull out your services club card or pay your bill, it is a strong reminder to yourself that you, as an officer, decided to always put Airmen above yourself no matter the personal cost or inconvenience."

The colonel advised enlisted Airmen to read Air Force Instruction 36-2618, "The Enlisted Force Structure" and live by it, and he urged NCOs and Senior NCOs to take the NCO and SNCO Charges seriously.

"Truly listen to what you are swearing to and live by those charges," he added. "Our Airmen coming out of Basic Military Training are so ready to take on the fight. They crave strong leadership and you can provide it if you live by AFI 36-2618 and the NCO and SNCO Charges."

Asked what his greatest and toughest moments were in his Air Force career, the colonel recalled a burial ceremony he attended.

"Comforting my Airman and his family after I just witnessed them bury their 3-month-old child who died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome was tough," Colonel Rearick said.

The colonel added that his greatest memory was dealing with an Airman he supervised that had some discipline issues he had to address with her to include withholding a stripe.

"I convinced this Airman to take college courses and tutored her in math," he added. "Just prior to leaving the base, she came into my office and said, 'Sir, you were tough on me but I want to thank you for being the father I never had.' I remember that moment like it happened yesterday."

Colonel Rearick said the one thing he'll miss most about Goodfellow is the people.

"I've never been assigned to a base where the Airmen, civilians and contractors are more dedicated and highly trained to accomplish the mission," he said. "That includes our folks at our Geographically Separated Units.

The colonel added that San Angelo is the best place he and his family have ever lived in his entire Air Force career.

"It's because of the people," he said. "This community loves their country, Texas and the military. They show this every day with the way they treat servicemembers. They understand the sacrifices servicemembers and their families make and they respect that. It's humbling yet gratifying to walk in the community and have a stranger walk up and thank my family and me for our service. It reaffirms that I made the right choice to serve my country."

To Team Goodfellow Airmen, the colonel urged them to train to be the best in the business.

"I guarantee our determined enemies are doing just that," he said. "You don't want to go into a fight and wish you had trained harder."

The colonel also asked the Airmen to look for leadership opportunities.

"Someone has to lead, why not you, and don't be afraid to make mistakes," he said. "All leaders make mistakes. You will learn from them and become a better leader. It takes practice to be good at anything and leadership is no different."

Colonel Rearick and his family are moving to Pendleton, S. C., where he will teach Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps.

"I can't wait for the challenge," he said.

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