448th CSW vice director retires

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE -- Col. Michael Leahy will soon cross out of the blue.
   After a 27-year career, which brought him to Tinker Air Force Base for 11 months, the 448th Combat Sustainment Wing vice director will retire July 27.
   "The Air Force gave me a series of tremendous opportunities and I would not trade any of them, but I've reached a point where I can better service our Air Force and our nation by crossing out of the blue," the colonel said.
   Col. Leahy began his Air Force career when he commissioned as a second lieutenant from the Stevens Institute of Technology Reserve Officer Training Corps program in New Jersey. Although he said he only initially intended to serve four years, the Air Force offered the best opportunities for him.
   "At every point when I had the opportunity to leave the Air Force, the Air Force always (offered) me very compelling opportunities," Col. Leahy said. "I re-evaluated my goal every time a new opportunity presented itself."
   Through the Air Force, Col. Leahy earned his Master of Science degree in electrical engineering from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and his Doctor of Philosophy degree in electrical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York.
   As a result of his decisions, Col. Leahy said he learned valuable lessons, which he passes on to younger Airmen.
   "Be passionate about your work or find another line of work you can be passionate about," the colonel said. "Life's too short to think that everyday you are going to 'work'; you want to do something that you want, enjoy doing, can be passionate about and it doesn't feel like work."
   Furthermore, Col. Leahy said, don't be afraid to fail.
   "All of life's great decisions are made with incomplete information," he said. "Get the best information you can, make an informed decision, move forward and do not look back. 
   "The worst that can happen is you can fail," the colonel said. "And failure is not always a bad thing."
   Col. Leahy's opportunities and decisions led him to the 448th CSW. Although his tenure was short, the colonel said it was a honor and privilege to lead a great team of people who produced some notable achievements. .
   The achievements he referred to included some of the highest levels of mission support: the necessary supplies - parts, equipment, engines or commodities - available to the warfighter when needed in the history of the ALC.
   "For nearly six months, we met our targets across every single weapons system we support, which is unprecedented," the colonel said. "At the center level, we are running about 25 percent below some very aggressive targets. And on the commodities side, we have had the highest level of engine readiness that the Air Force has ever seen."
   The colonel's retirement ceremony is scheduled for July 27 at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, where he spent half of his assignments.
   Upon retirement from the Air Force, the colonel said he will take a cruise to Alaska, visit family on the East Coast and then return to defining the future of aerospace systems but now from the industry side of the team.