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Farewell Ride

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Zach Anderson
  • 4th Air Force Public Affairs
It's a well-known fact on base that Maj. Gen. Eric W. Crabtree, Fourth Air Force commander, is a motorcycle enthusiast. On certain days, a gleaming motorcycle can be spotted in the commander's parking space outside the Fourth Air Force headquarters building. The general has more than 30 years of experience riding motorcycles, and last year led the first Fourth Air Force motorcycle safety ride to provide Airmen who ride motorcycles the opportunity to learn from each other and gain some "on-the-road" knowledge.

So, it seemed only fitting that as General Crabtree's tenure as commander of Fourth Air Force comes to an end, a few members of the unit chose to provide a unique send-off, one that was less about the formalities of a change-of-command ceremony, and more about raw horsepower. It was a "final farewell" motorcycle outing.

Several members of Fourth Air Force as well as local veterans joined the general on the ride through the Inland Empire, stopping at a classic Inland Empire biker restaurant for lunch.

"This whole event was organized for General Crabtree. He's been a great boss, and we know he enjoys riding, so this was kind of a send-off from the guys in this unit who enjoy riding. It was just our own way to say goodbye," said Chief Master Sgt. Bob Wright, Fourth Air Force functional manager, aircrew flight equipment.

General Crabtree said he was pleased to be able to go on one more outing with his fellow Fourth Air Force riders.

"The safety ride we did before was nice; it was good to get together as a group. It was the same with this. It was just a good opportunity to get out, to ride together, to enjoy the countryside and then sit down and have lunch together."

The route snaked its way through some of the most scenic terrain in the local area, winding through the hills of the countryside and following the highway past Lake Elsinore.

"It couldn't have been more perfect," General Crabtree said. "The traffic was great, the scenery was great, and the temperature was perfect."

Chief Wright spoke of the unique kinship between motorcycle enthusiasts, and said that for those at Fourth Air Force, this final ride was a way to celebrate the general's inclusion in that group.

"We'll do the official stuff on Saturday, and everyone will be a part of that. But this was kind of something we could do special that we enjoy," the chief said. "Whether you're an officer or enlisted, it's just something we all share and enjoy and it was really special to do this one more time with the general."

General Crabtree said he looks forward to finding people to ride with once he is in place at his new assignment at the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, Ft. Belvoir, Va. But he said this final ride with the members of Fourth Air Force was definitely special.

"It was great to get out with the guys here and ride through the California countryside one last time," General Crabtree said. "It was a perfect day, and to be able to get out with these guys one last time on such a beautiful day was just tremendous."