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Medical commander sets sail into retirement

Col. Joe Janik presents a certificate of retirement to Col. Rodney Waite, May 4, 2019 at the Community Activity Center, here.

Col. Joe Janik presents a certificate of retirement to Col. Rodney Waite, May 4, 2019 at the Community Activity Center, here. Waite served more than 24 years in the United States Air Force, 11 of which were in active duty status. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Grossi)

Senior Airman Marjorie Butcher and Senior Airman Emma German, both aerospace medical services technicians with the 910th Medical Squadron, take part in a United States flag presentation during a retirement ceremony for Col. Rodeny Waite, the commander of the 910th MDS, May 4, 2019.

Senior Airman Marjorie Butcher and Senior Airman Emma German, both aerospace medical services technicians with the 910th Medical Squadron, take part in a United States flag presentation during a retirement ceremony for Col. Rodeny Waite, the commander of the 910th MDS, May 4, 2019. All six members of the base honor guard who participated in the presentation of the United States Flag belonged to the 910th MDS under Waite. (U.S. Air Force Photo/ Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Grossi)

Col. Rodney Waite, the commander of the 910th Medical Squadron, receives an American flag from Staff Sgt. Felipe Henao, a health services manager with 910th MDS, during Waite’s retirement ceremony, May 4, 2019.

Col. Rodney Waite, the commander of the 910th Medical Squadron, receives an American flag from Staff Sgt. Felipe Henao, a health services manager with 910th MDS, during Waite’s retirement ceremony, May 4, 2019. A formal retirement ceremony is a courtesy that is offered to all retiring members of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force Photo/ Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Grossi)

YOUNGSTOWN AIR RESERVE STATION, Ohio --

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.