TINKER AIR FORCE BASE —
Before a crowd of approximately 350 guests and several dignitaries described as a “Logistics Hall of Fame,” Lt. Gen. Donald E. “Gene” Kirkland became commander of the Air Force Sustainment Center Aug. 7 in Bldg. 3001 at Tinker Air Force Base.
“I am sitting on hallowed ground when we talk about sustainment in our Air Force,” said General Ellen Pawlikowski, who officiated the AFSC change of command as one of her final ceremonies prior to her own retirement. “I feel confident we’ve got another in our great line of logisticians that’s going to step up and lead this center to even greater heights than where it is today.”
Kirkland most recently served as Director of Logistics, Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Engineering and Force Protection, Headquarters U.S. Air Force. “I’m humbled, excited, and deeply appreciative of the opportunity to lead this team.”
“As a career logistician, I am convinced there is no organization more important in the business of sustainment to the warfighter,” he said.
Pawlikowski agreed. “Nothing goes on in this Air Force without an AFSC Airman in some way involved,” she said, highlighting the importance of the center’s mission. When a military member gets on an airplane and flies into harm’s way voluntarily, they don’t have to worry about whether the plane will safely get them home. “And the only reason that happens is because of the Airmen – the civilians, enlisted and officers – of the Air Force Sustainment Center.”
Both Pawlikowski and Kirkland attributed much of the past success of AFSC to unparalleled community support. Acknowledging the many civic leaders in attendance, including Governor Mary Fallin and U.S. Representative Steve Russell, Kirkland said, “The community leader support is second to none and recognized across our Air Force as a key element of the Center’s success. We know we can count on you to take care of our Airmen and their families.”
Kirkland replaced Lt. Gen. Lee K. Levy II, who retired after the change of command ceremony.