8/2/2007 - EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, FL -- Waiting for the right
time to bring the family together, newly promoted Brig. Gen.
Joseph A. Lanni, Air Armament Center vice commander, wanted
to share the accomplishment with his family and friends.
His wish came true July 27 when more than 300 friends and family
from as far away as California and Virginia came out to watch
him pin on his first star at the Eglin Officers' Club -- even
though it was official July 3.
During the ceremony, General Lanni's friends and family reflected
on his past achievements and moments that defined him as a family
man and an Air Force man.
"A promotion is a big deal...for Joe what it means is
personal achievement," said Maj. Gen. Curtis Bedke, Air
Force Flight Test Center commander, Edwards Air Force Base,
Calif., and a personal friend to General Lanni. "This is
kind of like the lifetime personal achievement award."
As the ceremony's emcee, General Bedke opened his remarks humorously
by dispelling the rumor that all it takes is good looks to make
the general officer ranks.
"As it turns out that's not enough; you have to have more
than good looks," he said. "You have to have incredible
"In fact, I've made a lifetime of going with a thesis
that luck alone is good enough," he said to an eruption
of laughter. "But to try to be more serious, a lifetime
worth of excellence and personal achievement (is what) leads
General Bedke laid out the case by describing a pattern of
Air Force excellence that started at the U.S. Air Force Academy,
Colorado Springs, Colo., and continued throughout General Lanni's
career. During his remarks, General Bedke repeatedly mentioned
the phrase honor graduate as he described General Lanni's base-by-base
"Do you see a theme here," he asked the crowd.
General Lanni was commissioned in 1980 following graduation
from the Academy. During his career he's commanded the 412th
Test Wing, served as director of the F/A-22 Combined Test Force,
Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards AFB, Calif., as well
as a flight test squadron commander. Additionally, he served
as a staff officer at the Air Force and Joint Chiefs of Staff
level. As a command pilot, General Lanni has more than 4,500
flying hours in more than 90 different types of aircraft including
the F-22. He's been a fighter pilot, aggressor pilot and experimental
test pilot during his career.
"Promotion ceremonies are not really about you,"
he turned and told General Lanni. "They're like weddings.
They're really...well they're for mom actually. That's what
they are all about."
That emphasis on family is mirrored by the general's family
"Most of you who know Joe, if you take away the official
duty side of the house, you're going to think the same thing
I do immediately...family man," General Bedke said. "Great
kids, great family and Joe knows how to manage his time. You
can always see him taking great consideration for his family
and taking consideration for the families of the people working
His strong family focus is re-enforced by his work ethic that's
a great combination according to his wife Pam.
"The neat thing is it's a job he loves. It's wonderful
to be married to him because I'm married to a man who loves
his job. That makes life at home wonderful because he's happy
and that makes the rest of us happy."
His family, including his children Nicole, Kyle, Caity and
Michaela, have followed his career every step of the way. The
example he set as a father and an Air Force officer inspires
his son Kyle.
"I've enjoyed very much having a dad who's tough on me,
who's not going to let me slack; who's going to teach me how
to be a gentleman, how to grow up and be an adult," said
Kyle Lanni, 17-year-old son who aspires to follow in his father's
footsteps. "His example is one I truly respect."
Despite his various achievements he's had during his career,
General Lanni is humble by his promotion to a flag officer rank.
During General Lanni's remarks, he answered the two questions
people have asked him scores of times since the announcement.
The first question is "How does it feel?"
"I'm really humbled to be here," he said. "When
my name first came out on the promotion list in November '05,
I honestly felt that this honor could have gone to any one of
several handfuls of great colonels I was working with and that
I knew around the Air Force at the time."
The second one is "Why do you think you got selected?"
"Any (National Football League) tailback who wins the
rushing title would probably give you the same answer,"
he said. "I have providentially been surrounded by a fantastic
group of coworkers in every job that I've been in. And it's
really enabled me to be a part of some history-making endeavors."
Source: USAF Eglin AFB Press Release by Staff Sgt. Mike