MARTINSBURG. W.Va. --
Family, friends and service members gathered in hangar 305 at the 167th Airlift Wing in Martinsburg, W.Va., September 16, to honor and pay special tribute to Major General Eric W. Vollmecke as he officially retired from nearly 36 years of service in the United States Air Force and the West Virginia Air National Guard.
Vollmecke described his career as “unforeseeable” and thanked his family including wife, Sigrid, and children, Kari, Maja, Stadtler, Hans and Kell for their sacrifice and support over the years.
Vollmecke served most recently as Deputy Director for Political-Military Affairs Africa for Strategic Plans and Policy, Joint Staff, the Pentagon, Washington, District of Columbia. Prior to his tour at the Joint Staff, he served as the Air National Guard Assistant to the Commander, USAF in Europe/ Air Forces Africa.
Vollmecke passed along two lessons he had learned during his career, “First that people will give you the most valuable thing they have to offer and that’s the benefit of their experience. And second is opportunity doesn’t knock on your timeline.”
He started his military career in 1982, when he was commissioned through the Reserve Officer Training Corp program at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina as a communications officer. In 1987 he transitioned to the West Virginia Air National Guard as a C-130 pilot at the 167th. While in the WVANG, he served in several command positions at the squadron, wing, state, and major staff levels including Chief of Staff of the WVANG and Assistant Adjutant General and Assistant to the Director, Air National Guard.
Major General James Hoyer, the Adjutant General of the West Virginia National Guard, said, “You’ve [Vollmecke] been an exceptional Airman, you’ve been an exceptional leader, but my contention to everybody here is the most significant thing that you have provided to this organization, the state and nation is you’ve epitomized the role has Citizen Soldier Airmen. You’ve made our nation a better place, not just by your military capability but most importantly by how you conduct yourself in and out of uniform.”
Vollmecke served in various tactical and operational roles in Panama, Desert Shield/Storm, Bosnia, Kosovo, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, including commanding the 451st AEG, Kandahar, Afghanistan in 2005.
Vollmecke’s brother, Major General Kirk Vollmecke, said, “Eric is a beacon of enduring commitment exemplified by his service to the Air Force, his Brothers and Sisters in Arms, and to a grateful Nation.”