552 ACW out-going Vice Commander second to none

In true 552nd Air Control Wing tradition, friends, family and co-workers soaked Col. Joseph Rossacci, out-going vice commander, 552 ACW, as he disembarked after his final flight on the E-3 Sentry during his assignment here. (Air Force Photo by 1Lt Kinder Blacke)

In true 552nd Air Control Wing tradition, friends, family and co-workers soaked Col. Joseph Rossacci, out-going vice commander, 552 ACW, as he disembarked after his final flight on the E-3 Sentry during his assignment here. (Air Force Photo by 1Lt Kinder Blacke)

As Col. Joseph Rossacci, vice commander, 552nd Air Control Wing, stepped off the jet, he was soaked with champagne and water as part of the celebration of his final flight on the E-3 Sentry during his assignment here. (Air Force Photo by 1Lt Kinder Blacke)

As Col. Joseph Rossacci, vice commander, 552nd Air Control Wing, stepped off the jet, he was soaked with champagne and water as part of the celebration of his final flight on the E-3 Sentry during his assignment here. (Air Force Photo by 1Lt Kinder Blacke)

Col. Pat Hoffman, commander, 552nd Air Control Wing, applauds Col. Joseph Rossacci, out-going vice commander, 552 ACW, for a job well done. (Air Force Photo by 1Lt Kinder Blacke)

Col. Pat Hoffman, commander, 552nd Air Control Wing, applauds Col. Joseph Rossacci, out-going vice commander, 552 ACW, for a job well done. (Air Force Photo by 1Lt Kinder Blacke)

TINKER AFB, Okla. -- The 552nd Air Control Wing gave a very wet "goodbye" to the outgoing Vice Commander Col. Joseph Rossacci April 24 as he completed his final flight on the E-3 during his assignment here.

Colonel Rossacci accepted the position as vice commander in June 2007 as his third assignment with the wing. After watching the 552 ACW operate over the years, Colonel Rossacci said "I have confidence in the fact that we know how to get the job done and have the absolute best people!"

Colonel Rossacci said he had the opportunity to work with several outstanding Airmen in the wing and witnessed magnificent work in the face of some very daunting challenges. He was inspired by their professionalism, positive attitudes, and teamwork approach to getting things done.

"It has been my honor and privilege to work with such a fine group of professionals who have answered their Nation's call and do so much to defend our way of life," Colonel Rossacci said.

"I have seen this wing deal with going off to combat, operating in combat environments and I have seen our Airmen and their families rally and show calm in difficult times and show compassion in the face of suffering," he added.

Chief Master Sgt. James Foltz, command chief, 552 ACW, worked very closely with Colonel Rossacci. "He was my sounding board on a lot of things that went on in the wing," Chief Foltz said, "and we normally went into situations with a united front."

"His leadership style is second to none," Chief Foltz said. "If his Airmen need something, he will go to any lengths to get it. 'No' is not in his vocabulary... he is an Airman's Airman."

Lieutenant Col. Carson Elmore, director of staff, 552 ACW, shared similar sentiments about the outgoing vice commander. He has known Colonel Rossacci for over twenty years and is proud to call him a friend and a great mentor. "I went to war with him (as my commander), and I'd go to war with him again... anytime, anyplace."

In football, they say "square your shoulders to the goal line and don't stop running until you're halfway into the end zone," explained Colonel Elmore. "That spirit; that determination; that dedication and drive are what makes Colonel Rossacci... Colonel Rossacci!"

According to Colonel Elmore, Colonel Rossacci's priorities are simple: people, families and mission; and he works tirelessly to care for the three. "He never rests, because our people, our families, and the mission is way too important! Period... dot," said Colonel Elmore.

"The Air Force teaches us 'Excellence in all we do,'" Colonel Elmore said. "Well, Colonel Rossacci demonstrates it on a daily basis on every issue he works. If the men and women of the 552 ACW could see him work those issues, they'd love him even more!"

Chief Foltz agreed. As the vice commander, Colonel Rossacci was rarely in the spotlight, yet his efforts were constant and unfailing. "If only there were more officers like Colonel Rossacci in the Air Force..." Chief Foltz said, "it is truly amazing what can be done when nobody's worried about getting the credit."

Not only would Colonel Rossacci do anything for his Airmen, his spouse, Mrs. Kim Rossacci was constantly caring for the Airmen, but nobody ever knew it, Chief Foltz said. She would frequently be seen bringing in her famous garlic bread and spaghetti sauce to share, or delivering baby gifts to expectant mothers in the wing.

"If it was the right thing to do for our Airmen, she would get it done," Chief Foltz said about Mrs. Rossacci. "As a team, Colonel and Mrs. Rossacci brought synergy to the AWACS community and will be sorely missed by all."

Colonel Rossacci's next stop will be Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, where he will join the Air Combat Command Senior Leaders, serving as the Deputy Director of Requirements, A8.

"Bottom line, it has been the privilege of a lifetime to serve as the 552 ACW vice commander," Colonel Rossacci said. "There have been good days and tough days, but every day, I have been inspired by the greatness of our Airmen, our families and our community."