U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center commander met with 627th Air Base Group Airmen, presents Legion of Merit to outgoing commander

  • Published
  • By Maj. George Tobias
  • U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center Public Affairs

The U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center command team visited the 627th Air Base Group at Joint Base Lewis-McChord on July 15.

The visit served a chance for Maj. Gen. John Gordy, USAF EC commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Kristopher Berg, USAF EC command chief master sergeant, to meet with Airmen and recognize some of the group’s top performers.

It also served an opportunity for Gordy to recognize the 627th ABG’s outgoing commander for his support to the installation and the USAF EC during an All Call and award ceremony.

“This is a great opportunity for me and Chief Berg to come back to see the men and women of the Air Base Group here and spend a little bit of time with you, but more importantly to say farewell to your commander today,” said Gordy. “It is an absolute honor to be here today to officially see Percy off.”

During the ceremony, Gordy presented the Legion of Merit to Col. William Percival, 627th ABG commander, who is departing to the Air Force Safety Center, Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico.

Recognized for his leadership and vision, Percival, who also served as the Deputy Joint Base Commander, supported two senior service component commands, and was responsible for leading more than 750 military and civilian personnel that support more than 350 units and an installation population of approximately 46,800 military, 16,200 civilian and contract employees, and 39,600 family members.

“There was not a day that Col. Percival did not come to work as a purple officer,” remarked Gordy, adding that Percival would always look for ways to make life better not only for his Airmen, or the 62nd Airlift Wing’s Airmen, but also for the Soldiers who reside on Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

The 627th ABG falls under the USAF EC and supports one of the center’s core competencies, joint basing, providing power projection platforms for worldwide airlift and joint expeditionary operations.

“It has been a busy two years,” Percival noted as he addressed all in attendance, remarking on several accomplishments achieved by the 627th ABG and the installation, emphasizing that, “You have redefined what excellence and support looks like.”

During his tenure in command, Percival initiated a base operating support-integration cell where he maximized deliberate planning and support for Air Mobility Command’s inaugural Exercise Mobility Guardian, which had four thousand national and international participants in 2017, and validated joint and multi-national interoperability.

He also energized U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force infrastructure partnerships on the joint base, which led to airfield facility enhancements, security improvements, and threat mitigation. During a three month runway closure for construction, Percival synchronized the dispersal of 43 C-17s while preserving the Air Force’s strategic airlift capability. 

And, by balancing support, airlift and readiness requirements, Percival was able to launch the first joint base Phase I and II Exercise in 11 years, which cultivated sustainable installation response and execution capability.

At the end of his remarks, Percival had a message for the Airmen of the 627th ABG.

“I worked as hard as I could every day with an amazing support staff, an amazing deputy and an amazing chief, to earn your respect, to earn my keep, to make sure I was the commander you needed,” said Percival, adding, “And you worked every day and earned [my respect], you all will forever be my Airmen, and I can only hope I worked hard enough to be yours.”

Col. Patrick O’Sullivan, will assume command of the 627th ABG in August. Lt. Col. Samuel Miller, 627th ABG deputy commander, will serve as acting commander in the interim.