Former commander leaves lasting impact at 167th Airlift Wing, National Guard

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- A service to celebrate the life of Brig. Gen. (ret.) V. Wayne "Speedy" Lloyd was held at the Zion Episcopal Church in Charles Town, W.Va., June 17.

Lloyd was the 167th Airlift Wing commander from 1989 to 1999. He went on to serve as the West Virginia Air National Guard commander until 2004, overseeing both airlift wings in the state.

Brig. Gen. Eric Vollmecke delivered Lloyd's eulogy which began with the Mark Twain quote, "A man who lives fully is prepared to die anytime."

"I can assure you Speedy was prepared," said Vollemecke who served in various capacities under Lloyd's direction including a stint as his executive officer during a 2003 deployment.

In 2002 Lloyd deployed to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, serving as the commander of the 376 Air Expeditionary Wing. There he oversaw the development of a transit center at Manas International Airport. Manas Air Base became a logistical hub for personnel and supplies moving in and out of Afghanistan.

According to Vollmecke, Lloyd was the first National Guard general officer to serve as a coalition commander for Enduring Freedom and he played a pivotal role in shaping how the National Guard is now utilized.

"His strong leadership and performance forged the way for countless senior National Guard officers to serve in combat commands," Vollmecke said.

As the commander of the 376 AEW, Lloyd had eight nations assigned under his command in addition to U.S. Soldiers, Airmen and Marines.

Lloyd later served as the Director of Mobility Force at the Combined Air Operations Center in Qatar overseeing all airlift into Iraq and Afghanistan for USAF Central Command.

"I was honored to witness him on several occasions not succumb to political pressure to make a bad call," Vollmecke said, adding:  "his judgement making key decisions saved lives and made lasting impacts on those superior and junior to him."

Vollmecke said Lloyd felt a responsibility to be an enthusiastic follower and that he knew how to fully and deeply execute a boss' intent.

Lloyd served under now retired Major General Alan Tackett, the adjutant general for West Virginia, as the commander for 167th Airlift Wing and also as the assistant adjutant general overseeing both airlift wings in the state.

Tackett envisioned a new mission for the wing.

"General Lloyd saw his role to vigorously work to ensure the conditions were set to allow the 167th to transition to a strategic airlift role, thereby preserving jobs and providing a critical contribution to national security," said Vollemecke.

Col. Shaun Perkowski, commander, 167th Airlift Wing, called Lloyd one of the wing's most iconic leaders and credited him for the new mission and infrastructure at the Martinsburg air base in a letter to the unit shortly after Lloyd's passing.

"Some of our newer members may not realize it, but what we see at the 167th today--from the airplanes to the new buildings--is a result of the vision of Gen Lloyd, our former TAG, Major General Allen Tackett, and Senator Robert Byrd," he said.

Vollemecke closed Lloyd's eulogy referencing the wing's 1998 operational readiness inspection. "Speedy cherished his role in leading the 167th in 1998 to achieving the highest rating possible in an ORI," he said.

Vollmecke said that rating, outstanding, is simply defined as way beyond normal and that Lloyd lived a life that was way beyond normal.

"There's no question he influenced generations to come," said Vollmecke.