Category: McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst

Former McGuire Wing Commander, U.S. Air Force retired Brig. Gen. Larry Wright Inducted Into Georgia Veterans Hall of Fame


Putting the maintenance Airmen’s safety first, Wright escorted congressional delegates, business owners and CEOs of various companies onto McGuire to show how the base’s small hangars were not sufficient in sustaining the base’s robust mission set.

Wright brought all of the visitors on a bus, took them out to the McGuire flight line on a cold Jan. day.

“I wanted to show them the hangars we had,” he said. “They were built for smaller aircraft and how a C-118 Liftmaster and C-141 were only able to fit up to the wing and was too dangerous to do maintenance on.”

The general had it in his mind to keep his Airmen on McGuire safe, so that’s what he did. Shortly after Wright’s departure, the base built hangars large enough for the bigger mobility machines. He’s also proud that three of his squadron commanders from McGuire were promoted to General as well.

Wright also started an aviation museum while there, collecting seven aircraft – the first of which was one of his favorites, the P-38 Lightning.

While at McGuire, he earned a Bronze Oak leaf Cluster in lieu of a Second Award of the Legion of Merit for his accomplishments there.


November 11, 2021

By: Nicholas Pilch, 60th Air Mobily Wing Public Affairs

Travis Air Force Base, Calif. – U.S. Air Force retired Brig. Gen. Larry Wright was inducted into the Georgia Veterans Hall of Fame, Nov. 6, 2021.

Gen. Wright commissioned into the Air Force in 1960 through the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program at the University of Maryland. Some of his highest decorations include the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit with a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster and the Distinguished Flying Cross.

The general was a command pilot with 7,400 flying hours, including 1,874 combat flying hours and 533 maintenance test flight hours.

Though heavily decorated, he is a family man at heart. His wife, Gretchen, and he recently celebrated 55 years of marriage. They have four successful children, Teresa Marie, Pamela, Heather and John – and to this day, he continues his passion of aviation.

“The best things about the Air Force are the airplanes,” said Wright. “They are the mortar that holds all of the Airmen together.”

Wright began his career as a young lieutenant at Travis Air Force Base, California, after he finished flying training at Craig AFB, Alabama. His first assignment at Travis AFB was as a C-133 Cargomaster pilot, as well as an instructor and maintenance test pilot.

Then in 1965, his life changed forever that December when he met his wife at Travis AFB, he recalls in his memoir:

“It was the 19th of Dec. 1965, the time was 5:15 p.m. I remember it exactly.
She was in my apartment and I walked into my living room. I saw her. She was standing on a chair, decorating a Christmas tree that wasn’t there (before). As a matter of fact, she hadn’t been there either.
She had short, neat auburn-colored hair. Her eyes were large and dark.
She saw me and turned. She had a tree decoration in one hand and a bottle of Chivas Regal in the other. She (had) a brilliant smile that caused the whole room to light up. ‘Hi, I’m Gretchen. Merry Christmas.’”

After Gretchen and him were married and they started a family and moved on base, Gretchen started a tradition.

“One of the neatest things Gretchen would do at each assignment was plant a tree when we moved in,” he said.

At Travis, he completed combat flight school, where he received honor graduate – which isn’t a first for his educational journey. Throughout his journey into education, whether if it was for higher education or military training, he always graduated with honors, the top of his class or cum laude.

An educated officer in the Air Force, his command started putting him on combat missions into Vietnam with the C-133 from Travis AFB from 1965 to 1968 until he was deployed there in 1969.

In 1969, he earned his Silver Star, but it wasn’t a single thing that happened that got him to the mission in which he earned it. Wright said that being an honor graduate from combat flight school was the ripple effect that brought everything into place. He received honor graduate, then he was named chief of aircrew standardization in Vietnam, then he was sent on one mission that he completed, under heavy fire, when he was awarded the Silver Star.

The mission wasn’t simple.

Fly a C-7A Caribou into a heavily fortified enemy territory, no landing lights, very little cover – and during a heavy rain storm. He and his copilot flew the C-7 above the landing area, waited for the ground grew to ignite a few small lights for landing, quickly landed under fire, unloaded the equipment and resupply for the ground troops then took off under heavy fire.

“The C-7 was the only military aircraft that was never rated for commercial flight,” he said. “This is still one of the only aircraft you rip into reverse to sit it down, or land.”

This cold and rainy Oct. 30 mission was also the inspiration for why Mrs. Wright felt compelled to nominate Gen. Wright for the Georgia Hall of Fame.

“His mission that he got the Silver Star for made a difference in a lot lives,” she said. “If he didn’t land with the ammunition and things the army needed there, a lot of those men wouldn’t have made it out.”

The citation describes the thunderstorms and darkness, which caused two other aircraft with supplies to turn around, but Wright went forward.

He also received the Distinguished Flying Cross for another mission while in Vietnam where he had to avoid friendly and hostile fire to deliver essential supplies.

After arriving home in 1970, Wright was then stationed at the Air Force Academy where he served at the 4th Squadron commander. While in Colorado, he completed his first Master of Arts degree and, along with his wife, adopted their son.

His Next assignment was to Charleston AFB, South Carolina the quality control officer and the Avionics Maintenance Squadron commander and eventually assistant chief of maintenance. He flew C-141 Starlifter at Charleston.

On flying the C-141, Wright recalls in his memoir:

“Off to fly C-141’s at Charleston AFB. The C-141 is a big, powerful, four-engine jet. It’s a tough, reliable aircraft that got the job done. It had a decent performance cruising at .74 mach. When the Air Force first got the C-141 in 1965 they had the original aluminum finish with the tops painted white. Now, eight years later, we were in the process of painting them all the NATO olive drab, camouflage colors. It was a good move. Charleston kept two aircraft with the aluminum and white paint for sensitive missions, where we didn’t want to look ‘warlike.’”

At Charleston, too, Wright exceeded, graduating top of his class in the pilot course that would qualify him to fly his new office there: the C-141.

Wright has story after story he remembers from each base because each assignment was special to him.

“Charleston was good to us. The wing there does well – they always have because of the people,” he said. “I was promoted to lieutenant colonel while there and received my appointment to the National War College in Washington, D.C.”

The general is always quick to give credit to the men and women that worked for him, but a follow-on assignment to the National War College was another educational opportunity he was both excited and nervous for because only 160 people, including civilians, received such a prestigious appointment. The school is focused on government education and broader priorities with military planning and logistics from a federal and nation-wide perspective.

Directly following his appointment, Wright moved over to the Pentagon to work directly for the Joint Chiefs of Staff as an action officer in the Logistics, Planning and Review Branch for Strategic Mobility.

Andrews AFB, Maryland, was next for him and his family. He took command of the 89th Military Airlift Wing in June of 1979, where he flew Vice President Walter Mondale and the First Lady, Rosalynn Carter.

He said this assignment was memorable because of the presidential flights, but the particular elation for the assignment was because of the election year he was there and being able to fly President Ronald Reagan for his first inauguration.

He received the Legion of Merit for his successful missions supporting the President, Vice President, members of Congress and other prominent national and international leaders.

After Andrews, the general went further northeast to McGuire AFB, New Jersey, where he feels he did a lot as a wing commander.

“Gen. Wright was the kind of leader who knew how to lead and change the scenery,” said retired Col. Harvey Haas, an officer that worked for Wright during his time at McGuire and is a friend to him to this day. “It takes a fearless warrior with courage and the ability to make the correct choices under stress.

“He was a person that looked after his people,” Haas said, laughing. “He set up a volleyball game for the colonels to play against the junior officers – where the junior officers just crawled all over each other, trying to be the superstar, but under Wright’s leadership, us older guys tore up the young ones because we came together as a team.”

Haas was quick to credit Wright for his leadership and attitude about his people.

Putting the maintenance Airmen’s safety first, Wright escorted congressional delegates, business owners and CEOs of various companies onto McGuire to show how the base’s small hangars were not sufficient in sustaining the base’s robust mission set.

Wright brought all of the visitors on a bus, took them out to the McGuire flight line on a cold Jan. day.

“I wanted to show them the hangars we had,” he said. “They were built for smaller aircraft and how a C-118 Liftmaster and C-141 were only able to fit up to the wing and was too dangerous to do maintenance on.”

The general had it in his mind to keep his Airmen on McGuire safe, so that’s what he did. Shortly after Wright’s departure, the base built hangars large enough for the bigger mobility machines. He’s also proud that three of his squadron commanders from McGuire were promoted to General as well.

Wright also started an aviation museum while there, collecting seven aircraft – the first of which was one of his favorites, the P-38 Lightning.

While at McGuire, he earned a Bronze Oak leaf Cluster in lieu of a Second Award of the Legion of Merit for his accomplishments there.

In 1983, General Wright went on to Scott AFB, Illinois, where he became the deputy chief of staff for logistics at Military Airlift Command headquarters, but was there for a short amount of time because he was promoted to Brigadier General, which out-ranked him for the position he was in. He promoted June 1, 1984, with date of rank Oct. 1, 1983.

He and his family headed back to Travis AFB, but this time, he would be the vice commander of the 22nd Air Force, Military Airlift Command. It was one of three combat-ready strategic and tactical airlift arms of the Military Airlift Command.

“Returning to Travis was nostalgic for my family and I,” he said.

Their first time at Travis, Mrs. Wright planted a small palm tree in their front yard. When they returned, the family went to their old address to find it tall and growing healthy.

First arriving to Travis as a lieutenant and then coming back as a general humbled him and reminded him how small one’s career can be, or how much of an impact one can make in their career.

His assignment at Travis earned him the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal. In the absence of the commander, Gen. Wright directed strategic and tactical airlift capabilities for half the globe, said the award citation. His leadership was essential for readiness exercises in 1985 and 1986 which meant a stronger United States strategic military partnership in the Korean theater.

Wright capped off his career with a year-long assignment to U.S. Forces Portugal and returned to Charleston afterwards.

His retirement wasn’t in the slightest a forgettable one – in Charleston, South Carolina. While there, him and his family evacuated for Hurricane Hugo that hurricane made the Isle of Palms almost disappear.

Afterwards, in 1989 he went on to complete his second Master’s degree in history at The Citadel in Charleston and went on to teach U.S. history and national security policy at The University of North Florida and Jacksonville University until 1999.

Wright’s journey, 22 years later, brought him to the Saint Luke Ministry Center in Columbus, Georgia for his induction to the Georgia Veterans Hall of Fame, Nov. 6.

“What strikes me from the ceremony was the dinner,” he said. “Sitting there, listening to stories from other inductees – there were men there with the Medal of Honor, four Silver Stars – there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

“To sit with those heroes – to be there with them – that was the real honor.”

The General has over 22 decorations which include: the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with five oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, Presidential Unit Citation Emblem, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Ribbon with three oak leaf clusters, Combat Readiness Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with 11 service stars, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with palm and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.

Editor’s note: Portions of this article have been researched and gathered from various websites, awards citations, other online articles, yearbooks and revised sections of Brig. Gen. Wright’s memoir. Information has been presented to Brig. Gen. Wright and credited to him to be factual.


KC-46A Pegasus Arrives On Joint Base MDL

November 10, 2021

By Airman 1st Class Joseph Morales Joint Base MDL Public Affairs

JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J.  –  The Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst community celebrated a monumental milestone for the installation as it welcomed its first KC-46A Pegasus to its new home in an arrival ceremony Nov. 9, 2021. The event marked the beginning of new total force aerial refueling operations at the joint base, making it the first and only joint base with KC-46 lead operations.

The aircraft, delivered by U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Mark Camerer, U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center commander, and Brig. Gen. Neil Richardson, Air Mobility Command’s Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration Operations deputy director, will be operated and maintained by the 305th and 514th Air Mobility Wings, and will receive installation support from the 87th Air Base Wing.

“The arrival of the KC-46 at JB MDL signifies the continuation of a great tradition of air refueling in the 305th and 514th Air Mobility Wings,” said Col. Scott Wiederholt, 305th AMW commander. “A tradition underscored by a strategically located installation that is postured to provide increased and enduring capabilities to execute our nation’s most important missions. The KC-46 is now part of an impressive lineage of aircraft and great aviators.”

Joint Base MDL was selected to receive the KC-46 in 2017 by meeting all operational mission requirements within the U.S. Air Force’s tanker recapitalization strategy. The installation, with co-located operations between active and reserve components, expects to receive 15 additional aircraft during Fiscal Year 2022, with nine more planned for Fiscal Year 2023.

”The Reserve Citizen Airmen of the Freedom Wing are honored to be a part of the historical arrival of the KC-46,” said Col. William Gutermuth, 514th AMW commander. “We look forward to the next generation joint partnership we have formed with our mission partners across the installation and will continue to provide mission ready Airmen ready at a moment’s notice to augment our active duty counterparts.”

The KC-46 maintains air refueling edge through the use of both the refueling boom and drogue systems, allowing for simultaneous air refueling of multiple aircraft with wing pods. The KC-46 is designed to refuel allied and coalition aircraft and provide multifunctional support, like passenger and cargo transport along with medical and humanitarian relief. 

It was most recently approved to refuel all variants of F-15s and F-16s, extending its range of support to 62% of all receiver aircraft that request air refueling support.

On top of its air refueling, cargo, and passenger capabilities, the KC-46 will amplify next-generation capabilities such as the Advanced Battle Management System, which demonstrates the ability to collect, process, and share data from air, land, sea and space domains at exponential rates.

 “Today, we send KC-135 Stratotankers and KC-10 Extenders around the world to enable Global Reach…providing capabilities only this country can provide [and] options to our senior leaders no other nation can offer,” Wiederholt said. “From this day forward, the aircrew, maintainers, Port Dawgs and support personnel will place their indelible mark upon our nation’s tanker legacy in the KC-46.”

The arrival of the KC-46 on Joint Base MDL reinforces the role of the installation in enabling global reach.

“Today highlights the important role our installation has in delivering warfighting capabilities for combatant commanders anywhere in the world,” said Col. Wes Adams, Joint Base MDL commander. “The arrival of our first KC-46 is the result of close coordination with our community and mission partners who worked hard over the years to bring this mission to JB MDL. Today we celebrate this incredible milestone in our joint base’s history.”


Mission of Honor holds 36th Ceremony at the Brigadier General William C. Doyle Veterans Memorial Cemetery

September 11, 2021

WRIGHTSTOWN, NJ (BURLINGTON)– The 36th New Jersey Mission of Honor ceremony was held at the Brigadier General William C. Doyle Veterans Memorial Cemetery at Wrightstown, N.J., on Sept. 9, 2021. The cremains of World War II U.S. Army veteran Edward T. Hopkins, World War II U.S. Army veteran Steven L. Horvath and his Margaret, World War II U.S. Army veteran Henry J. Korzeniewski, World War II U.S. Army veteran Philip W. Lehn, Korean War U.S. Air Force veteran Frederick Sawade Jr., Cold War era U.S. Army veteran William Stern, and Korean War U.S. Air Force veteran Paul G. Strongin, were honored during the ceremony.

Some of these cremains had gone unclaimed for as long as 45 years. NJMOH’s mission is to identify, retrieve, and intern the cremated remains of veterans forgotten in New Jersey funeral homes. 


Operation Allies Welcome and Task Force Liberty Update

September 5, 2021

WRIGHTSTOWN, NJ – JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST –Operation Allies Refuge has turned into Operation Allies Welcome. As part of Task Force Liberty Joint Base McGuire-DIX-Lakehurst is taking a part supporting the Department of State and Homeland Security in hosting Afghan guests that have been evacuated from Afghanistan.

The Department of Defense, through U.S. Northern Command, and in support of the Department of State and Department of Homeland Security, is providing transportation, temporary housing, medical screening, and general support for at least 50,000 Afghans at suitable facilities, in permanent or temporary structures, as quickly as possible. This initiative provides Afghan personnel essential support at secure locations outside Afghanistan.



Afghans play a game of cornhole in Liberty Village on Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, Sept. 5, 2021. The Department of Defense, through U.S. Northern Command, and in support of the Department of State and Department of Homeland Security, is providing transportation, temporary housing, medical screening, and general support for at least 50,000 Afghans at suitable facilities, in permanent or temporary structures, as quickly as possible. This initiative provides Afghan personnel essential support at secure locations outside Afghanistan. –Construction workers continue to build Liberty Village 3 on Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, Sept. 5, 2021. Video by Master Sgt. Joseph Vigil


Task Force-Liberty FAQs

Washington Air Guardsmen depart to support “Operation Allies Refuge” at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, NJ

August 31, 2021

CAMP MURRAY, WA–As citizens around the globe watched events unfold in recent weeks in Afghanistan, approximately 50 Airmen from the Washington Air National Guard departed Aug. 28, 2021, to provide essential support to vulnerable Afghans as part of Operation Allies Refuge at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey.

The Department of Defense recently approved a request for assistance from the State Department to provide temporary housing, sustainment, and support inside the United States for vulnerable Afghans at military installations around the country. JBMDL is one of the locations where servicemembers are providing this support.

According to Lt. Col. Lisa Weaver, Air Component Coordination Element for the Washington National Guard, the WNG received urgent requests for OAR volunteers through the Joint Information Exchange Environment, the National Guard Bureau’s web-based, interagency mission coordination and situational awareness system. The request then went out to the units with a short suspense.

Due to Airmen being heavily tasked since March 2020 with Covid operations, civil disturbance missions and wildland firefighting support, just to name a few, the speed and size of the response was unexpected. But in hindsight it all made sense to Weaver.

“We have so many people who have been connected to Afghanistan the last 20 years and want to help in any way they can,” she said. “It’s an opportunity to make a difference in a situation where it really is necessary: working directly with displaced nationals, helping them settle, and keeping them safe.”

The more than 50 Airmen who volunteered belong to all the units of the WA ANG: the Headquarters Washington Air National Guard and 194th Wing at Camp Murray, 141st Air Refueling Wing at Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane, Washington, and Western Air Defense Sector at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington. The group is a blend of ranks, career fields and part time and full time guardsmen.

With a majority of the WA ANG contingent designated as general augmentees, they will help the JBMDL task force provide housing, medical, logistics, and transportation support. The WA ANG also deployed security forces and transportation Airmen to provide career field-related support.

Senior Airman Sarah Godfrey, a material management specialist with the 194th Logistics Readiness Squadron, is an Airman who has been on back-to-back missions. According to her, she volunteered again because she’s thriving, and also, it goes back to why she joined the WA ANG in the first place.

“The [whole] reason I joined the guard was to assist with any kind of state side mission or mission in general [that] contributes to the community,” she said. “I just want to at least comfort refugees coming in and help in any way I possibly can.”

During an in-processing event for departing Airmen at Camp Murray, Washington on Aug. 27, 2021, the state’s adjutant general, Army Maj. Gen. Bret D. Daugherty, addressed the group and talked about the historic nature of OAR.

“You are about to play a part in what very well could be the last chapter in 20 years of war in Afghanistan. While the previous chapters have all been full of death and destruction, this last chapter could be really really positive,” he said. “You’re going to have an impact on our country for generations. Typically people who come to America have a pretty rough go of things that first generation but their kids and grandkids make major contributions to our country. So the work you are going to do here is going to set the stage for major contributions for generations and not everyone gets to do that.”