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Medical commander sets sail into retirement

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jeff Grossi
  • 910th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

A retirement ceremony was held for Col. (Dr.) Rodney Waite, the commander of 910th Medical Squadron, May 4, 2019, here. Waite entered active duty Air Force as a first lieutenant in 1988 while in dental school and re-entered as a Reserve Citizen Airman in 2006.

During the ceremony, Waite received multiple awards, accolades and presentations—namely the Meritorious Service Medal—for his outstanding service to Youngstown Air Reserve Station. He was specifically recognized for successfully restructuring the wing’s dental examination process leading to an outstanding rating on a health services inspection. Furthermore, Waite met the dental needs for more than 500 patients while serving as the dental officer in charge during a mission in the Dominican Republic.

Col. Joe Janik, the commander of the 910th Airlift Wing, presided over the ceremony,  extending thanks to Waite’s family, saying that no Reserve Citizen Airman could be in this business without the love and support of their family. Waite’s wife, Lisa, was recognized later during the retirement ceremony for her profound commitment and numerous contributions to her husband’s readiness and well-being during his years of service.

Janik praised Waite for his service and achievements while commanding the 910th MDS.

“Being a commander is a privilege in the military and the United States Air Force,” said Janik[EMW1] . “Rodney has done an outstanding job of setting the culture of the squadron. He was charged with executing the mission, managing the resources, leading people and improving the unit. He has done that in exemplary fashion.”

As Waite began his final remarks he thanked numerous civilians, enlisted and commissioned individuals for all the years, experiences and support during his Air Force career and during his time as commander. Waite also prompted a moment of silence for two medical squadron members who passed away while he was at the helm: Chief Master Sgt. John Rieger and Lt. Col. Michael Keller.

Before ending the ceremony, Waite urged Reserve Citizen Airmen to step out of their comfort zones and seek opportunities that will allow them to grow in their careers despite the awkwardness and challenge.

“A ship in the harbor is safe,” said Waite. “But that is not what ships are built for.”

Waite officially retired June 1, 2019, as Col. Colleen Kelley assumed command of the 910th MDS June 8, 2019.