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AF Reserve Command vice commander retires

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Maj. Gen. John J. Batbie Jr., Air Force Reserve Command vice commander, retired after nearly 39 years of military service in a ceremony today at the Museum of Aviation in Warner Robins, Ga.

Retired Lt. Gen. James E. Sherrard III, former Air Force Reserve chief and AFRC commander, officiated the ceremony. General Batbie’s retirement will take effect March 15.

Maj. Gen. David Tanzi, AFRC’s 10th Air Force commander, will assume responsibility for the daily operations of the command during a commander’s conference today following the retirement ceremony.

“Needless to say, the operations tempo for this command was near its peak when I returned to AFRC’s headquarters as the vice commander in November of 2001,” said General Batbie. “The credit for AFRC’s continued success goes to the more than 76,000 reservists and 4,000 civilians I had the privilege to work with.”

As the vice commander, General Batbie oversaw the day-to-day operations for the Air Force Reserve Command and its headquarters here. AFRC has about 76,100 reservists who train and deploy regularly. The command is composed of three numbered Air Forces divided into 36 wings, three flying groups, one space group, four space operations squadrons and 620 mission support units. He reported to Lt. Gen. John A. Bradley, Air Force Reserve chief and AFRC commander, who serves on the Air Staff at the Pentagon.

General Batbie began his military career in 1966 as a U.S. Army armor officer and helicopter pilot. He joined the Air Force Reserve in 1972 as a helicopter pilot and became a fixed wing pilot in 1979 after graduating from the Air Force Fixed Wing Qualification Course at Sheppard AFB, Texas. As a command pilot, he accumulated more than 5,000 flight hours in the A-10, A-37, KC-10, KC-135, AH-1G, HH-34J and CH-3E.

During his career, he had numerous supervisory and command positions, including director of operations; squadron, group, wing and numbered Air Force commander; and director of Mobilization and Reserve Component Affairs for U.S. European Command. Prior to General Bradley’s nomination, General Batbie served as the interim AFRC commander after General Sherrard’s retirement in May 2004.

In 1983, the general was the first Air Force Reserve officer to be assigned to Europe as a Reserve statutory tour officer. He coordinated Reserve affairs in both the plans and operations directorates and served as negotiator for the establishment of collocated operating bases in Greece and Turkey.

He spent more than seven years at Robins AFB. From June 1994 to September 1998, he was director of plans and programs. While in that position, General Batbie was promoted to major general July 1, 1997. After his tour at U.S European Command, he returned here as the vice commander for AFRC in November 2001.

General Batbie is a graduate of Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, La., where he earned his master of arts degree in business administration. He also earned his bachelor of arts degree in the same program at Arizona State University, Tempe, Ariz.