Safranek assumes command of 436th AW

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne
  • 436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Col. Joel Safranek assumed command of the 436th Airlift Wing from Col. Ethan Griffin during a change of command ceremony May 30, 2018, here.

Lt. Gen. GI Tuck, 18th Air Force commander, presided over the ceremony receiving the 436th AW guidon from Griffin and passing it to Safranek, symbolizing the official transfer of command.

“Col. Safranek is not shy to operations and he’s not shy to being in the joint community,” Tuck said during the ceremony. “He’s not shy at all to what the mission at Dover needs in terms of supporting Airmen, civilians and the total force that’s here.”

Safranek most recently served as the 621st Contingency Response Wing vice commander, headquartered at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey. This marks his first assignment at Dover AFB.

In his first message to the base, the new wing commander thanked the Airmen, families and community who make up Team Dover.

“A lot of times ceremonies are dedicated to thanking people, and I really want to take a moment today to talk about that,” Safranek said. “Commanders thanking people is very common today … My fear is that you’ve all heard it so often for the great things you do and continue to do every day, that any sort of heartfelt appreciation may be overlooked. Please know that the immense amount of time and work put into such a special event as this is not taken lightly on my or my family’s behalf.”

While serving as the 621st CRW commander, Safranek led 1,500 Airmen assigned to two contingency response groups and one air mobility advisory group, whose deployed Airmen provide theater-wide air mobility command and control, airbase opening, airfield assessments and contingency load planning. His team also served as air mobility liaisons with the sister services and advised international partners on air mobility issues.

Griffin is slated to depart for Travis AFB, California, where he will assume command of the 60th Air Mobility Wing.

During Griffin’s command, the 436th AW generated more than 30,000 flight hours, airlifted 200 million pounds of cargo and transported 40,365 passengers. Griffin started several Airmen-centric initiatives, such as the Transition Summit and the Spouse Symposium, focused on recruitment, retention and transition of service members’ careers. The wing also completed a monumental $120 million, 22-month runway reconstruction project intended to extend the runway’s lifespan by at least 50 years.

The wing also earned an Air Force Outstanding Unit Award under his leadership.

“During my time with the Eagle Wing, I have been honored to serve alongside some of the nation’s most dedicated, professional and positive Airmen, civilian and uniformed alike,” Griffin said.

“To the mighty Eagle Wing team, all of our mission partners and the community, you are all absolutely wonderful and a testament to delivering excellence in everything you do. We will always call you home. Aim high with great Dover pride, Eagle Wing.”

In his final remarks, Safranek acknowledged the warm welcome he and his family received and shared his excitement for becoming a part of the Team Dover community.

“Thank you once again for being a part of this journey with me and my family,” Safranek said. “We look forward to serving with all of you.”