“Lt. Col. E., Please Come Up Here…”

(Submitted by Joe D.)

A few years ago there was a change of command at Air Training Command (ATC, now Air Education and Training Command Air etc.). With this position being a 4-star billet there were all sorts of folks in attendence; high-ranking officers of all services, a couple politicos, local dignitaries and so forth. And of course, representatives of the ‘rank and file’ from throughout the command.

At Randolph AFB, TX over the years there was one family name, more than any other, that kept filtering through – the “E” family. There was General Jeff E., Ron E., Don E., Lee E., Lt. Col. Jeff E., and so forth. A couple were directly related, the others not quite so apparent. On this particular day Ron E., his son Lt. Col. Jeff E and Lee E. were all in attendence.

As General Robin Rand, the new Commander of ATC, began his remarks he asked ‘Lt. Col.’ E to come up to the stage. He meant L:t. Col. ‘Lee’ E. but Lt. Col. Jeff E. beat him to the stage! At the time Jeff had no idea why he was being ‘singled out.’

Now I know Jeff. He’s really a great guy, and I can just see him sitting there in the crowd. Then hearing his name, I can imagine him thinking, “What? Well Hell, okay then…” So, up he went.

General Rand, upon seeing Lt. Col. Jeff E. instead of Lt. Col. Lee E., begins a brief generic ‘spiel’ about how fortunate the Command is to have men like Lt. Col. Jeff E. as leaders – and off he goes singing Jeff’s praises, never skipping a beat in his presentation. And, no one was the wiser.

After a couple minutes of chatting with Lt. Col. Jeff E., he thanks him for his service, tells him to keep up the good work and Jeff heads back to his seat. Then General Rand continues, “And wouldn’t you know it, we have another ‘Lt. Col. E. here this afternoon, Lt. Col. Lee E., would you please come up here!” And the program picked up where it first left off…

While this is hilarious in and of itself, if you knew Jeff as I and many others do, it’s even funnier! Jeff is so unpretentious, he actually thought General Rand wanted him to come up on stage. I hope someday to talk with him about it – for his take on it all…

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