Superintendent retires after 40 years of service

Lt. Gen. John Regni, the Air Force Academy's superintendent, greets cadets.  General Regni will retire from active duty later this year.  He is the Academy's 17th superintendent.  (U.S. Air Force photo)

Lt. Gen. John Regni, the Air Force Academy's superintendent, greets cadets in the Terrazzo Feb. 2, 2009. General Regni retired from active duty July 1. He was the Academy's 17th superintendent. (U.S. Air Force photo)

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AFPN) -- Lt. Gen. John F. Regni -- a 1973 academy graduate -- became the 17th superintendent here Oct. 24. (U.S. Air Force photo by Joel Strayer)

Lt. Gen. John F. Regni, a 1973 U.S. Air Force Academy graduate, accepts the Academy guidon during his change-of-command ceremony Oct. 24, 2005. He retired from active duty July 1, 2009. (U.S. Air Force photo/Joel Strayer)

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- As Debby and I celebrate the final days of our career, I wanted to take this opportunity to offer some final thoughts to the men and women of the United States Air Force Academy as the 17th superintendent. 

First, I want to say thank you for making this the ideal way to close out this journey. I can't think of a more appropriate place to end my career than right here at USAFA, where it started some 40 years ago...with four years as a cadet and 36 years of commissioned service. Your hard work and dedication to our Academy has made it a premier military academy that provides our nation officers of character with an education that is unmatched. 

Second, I'm especially proud of all you've done to not only make the Academy what it is today, but set the foundation for years to come. From acquiring the funding to maintain our facilities to earning another 10-year accreditation to fielding competitive Division I athletic teams...the list goes on and I'm proud to be part of the team. 

Finally, you never took your eye off the ball. You kept our cadets and their well-being at the forefront of your work. We are producing better officers than ever before due to your efforts and dedication. You epitomize our core values of integrity, service and excellence. 

My career began back in the summer of 1969 when I entered Basic Cadet Training along with my classmates from the class of '73. We graduated at a time when the country was at war. After Vietnam we shifted our focus to the Cold War. Then came Desert Storm and many other contingency operations around the globe. Finally, 9/11 set the tone for the final years of my career. I was fortunate to have served the final 13 years of my career as a general officer...with the honor and responsibility of serving the last nine as a commander in commands far away from the Pentagon! 

But I have to admit, serving as superintendent has been the most rewarding assignment of my career. And it's because of the passionate people all across our various mission elements. Our faculty and staff, as well as our teammates in the 10th Air Base Wing, prep school and the 306th Flying Training Group are all professionals with the highest standards, all keenly focused on those who are the reason we exist--cadets. It is because of everyone's dedication and mission focus that "there's a whole lot of good going on at the Academy." 

Knowing we are sending our young officers into harm's way requires we do so with the best possible training. That's why the work you are doing here is so vitally important. We must continue to produce officer's who have the courage and values necessary to lead our Air Force and our nation's military at a critical point in history. 

Vice President Joseph Biden told the class of 2009 last week, "this is your moment to bend history to the service of a better day." Each and every one of you is vital to preparing our cadets to meet this challenge. 

But I don't want to dwell on the enormity of our service. I want to celebrate! I want to celebrate the friendships I've made over the years, dating back to my first duty station as a personnel officer at the Ogden Air Logistics Center. I want to celebrate the amazing work I've witnessed by our Airmen at every stop of my career. And I want to celebrate the sacrifices so many of our Airmen have made over the years. It's not just the Airmen who are sacrificing, it's also the families of our Airmen who support their loved ones while they are deployed around the world or working long hours at home station. It humbles me to see our entire Air Force family support each other while accomplishing the mission. 

It has truly been an honor to serve alongside each and every one of you in the world's most powerful air, space, and cyberspace force. Debby and I look forward to watching you from afar as we settle into the next phase of our life. We wish you all blue skies and strong tailwinds!