402nd MXW gets new leadership

  • Published
  • By Wayne Crenshaw
  • 78th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Workers in the 402nd Maintenance Wing shouldn't be surprised to see their new commander make a sudden visit to their workplace, and they also shouldn't be surprised if the conversation isn't necessarily related to work.

"I'm a big believer in MBWA - management by wandering around," Col. Lee K. Levy said in an interview just prior to officially taking command of the 402nd. "I like to get out and see where the folks are and get to know the workforce and engage with them. Sometimes I don't even want to really talk about what's going on at work. I just want to talk about football and just get to know the folks. The workforce is the asset that makes the wing what it is, and if you don't get to know them it's very difficult to be successful."

He took command from Brig. Gen. Mark Atkinson in a ceremony Tuesday at the Museum of Aviation. General Atkinson is leaving to become director of Logistics, Installations and Mission Support at Air Force headquarters in Europe at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.

In his previous assignment, Colonel Levy served at deputy director of logistics at Headquarters, Air Force Materiel Command at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. He will now lead the largest wing at Robins. The 402nd MXW has 7,800 employees who provide depot maintenance, software development and engineering support for weapons systems that include the F-15, C-5, C-130, C-17 and special operations aircraft.

"I am very honored and humbled," he said of his new assignment. "The maintenance wing here at Robins is the engine of the Air Logistics Center, and to have that responsibility entrusted to me is very humbling and a bit sobering. That said, I am also very excited about the challenges."

He said he would like to build on General Atkinson's legacy and "take us to the next level."

He has been nominated for brigadier general, but the designation is awaiting approval of Congress.

Prior to the change of command ceremony, General Atkinson made a brief comment to the audience of about 400 gathered for the event.

"Today is not about the people going out the door, it is about the people that are coming through the door," he said in explaining why he was keeping his comments brief. "Thank you for allowing me the privilege of leading the 402nd Maintenance Wing. We consider the people of that wing to be American patriots, who have a heart for the ALC, the Air Force and our country. We will forever be grateful for your service."

Maj. Gen. Polly Peyer, commander of the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center, praised General Atkinson for his work here, and particularly highlighted three recent accomplishments. She noted that the wing has achieved 14 gold sites in the Commander's Safe Site Challenge, won a silver Shingo Prize, and won the Maintenance Effectiveness Award.

"In his tenure here at Warner Robins there have been some absolutely spectacular events that have happened, and most of you have been part of those events that made that happen," General Peyer told the audience.

She also praised Colonel Levy as someone who brings a wide range of experience to Robins.

"He knows the ALC business and he knows how we are organized and how the processes run, so we are very glad to have the Levys here with that knowledge and to take up where Gen. Atkinson left off," she said.

After taking the guidon from General Atkinson, Colonel Levy took the podium and stated that he first wanted to directly address members of the 402nd. He noted that during World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt called the U.S. the world's "arsenal of democracy."

"You are the modern day equivalent of the arsenal of democracy, supporting the fight with world-class software, commodities, electronics and aircraft maintenance that supports the warfighter every day in this era of modern conflict," he said.