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167th Airlift Wing officer must retire in December

November 11, 1999

By JULIE E. GREENE / Staff Writer

Photo by RICHARD T. MEAGHER / Staff Photographer


MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The logistics group commander for the West Virginia Air National Guard's 167th Airlift Wing faces mandatory retirement next month after more than 19 years at the base.

Col. James M. Reuss, 57, of Meadow Spring Farm, will end a career of 38 years in the military.

The Ohio native said he wants to continue working in civil service with the government or in private industry.

Reuss supervises 274 guard members, including approximately 175 full-time employees who are in charge of maintaining the 12 C-130H cargo planes kept at the base so they're ready to fly around the world to distribute supplies.

He spent August in Germany to help get supplies to Kosovo refugees, and he made a trip to Macedonia to deliver supplies and fly Army personnel out.

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He also made trips to Europe in the early 1990s, including trips to Germany during the Gulf War to help bring guard members back home and to England after the war and to take equipment from the war out of Turkey.

Retired Brig. Gen. Jack Koch, the former wing commander, said Reuss was a big help to the guard's pilots and often went down to the base in Panama during the Christmas season.

Other deployments included running supplies to anti-drug operations in Central and South America as well as delivering supplies to Bosnia-Herzegovenia.

Reuss' unit's work was named the "World's Best Maintenance" at the Volant Rodeo in 1985 at Pope Air Force Base in North Carolina.

"I've got really, really good people working for me, and it makes my job real easy," Reuss said.

On Saturday, Gen. Ralph Smith, adjutant general for the Air Guard in West Virginia, presented Reuss with the Legion of Merit Medal, considered a high honor.

At that change-of-command ceremony, Reuss handed the reins over to Lt. Col. Brian Truman of Shepherdstown, W.Va., who had been Reuss' assistant maintenance aircraft officer.

Reuss lives with his wife, Martha Sue. They have twin daughters, Robyn and Renee, in Ohio.

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