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Reserve vice commander enjoyed time at McChord

Col. Lisa Tank moving on to director position at Camp Smith, Hawaii

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There's an old saying that the only constant is change. With change inevitably comes a look back.

In her final days as vice commander of the 446th Airlift Wing, Col. Lisa Tank is reflecting on a legacy of leadership, one that is leaving an indelible mark on reservists at McChord Field.

The colonel has been selected as director of the Joint Operations Center at U.S. Pacific Command, Camp Smith, Hawaii.

"The hardest part about this is realizing that I'll no longer be a part of this fantastic team," said Tank. "We simply have the highest quality of reservists here."

Tank began her Air Force career in 1980 as a student pilot at Vance Air Force Base, Okla. She came to McChord in 1987 and has remained here ever since on active duty and the Reserve.

"I started here as a captain with a small baby, and now my oldest boy is heading off to college," she said. "This has been a big, happy part of my life."

Tank's list of Air Force accomplishments is long and distinguished. She is a command pilot with 4,200 total flight hours, having flown both the C-141 Starlifter and the C-17 Globemaster III. She was also a T-37 Tweet instructor pilot and academic instructor while active on duty. Since joining the Air Force Reserve in 1995, she has held both flight and squadron commander positions.

Still, the University Place native insists her leaving will not have a detrimental impact on the 446th AW. The wing, she says, will always remain strong, and will continue to accomplish the mission as a team.

"We have such quality individuals here, one person leaving is not going to have a significant impact."

But Tank's enthusiasm is of the infectious nature, and the affection she radiates for her Reservists is something she doesn't hide very well.

"Reservists have already given more than 99 percent of other people, and this country should be truly grateful for their service."

So while her departure is something the colonel insists won't affect the reservists and the wing she loves, she will leave a legacy of enthusiastic excellence ... and perhaps a small nostalgic void, for both wing and vice commander.

"There's something special here," said Tank.

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