By Col. James J. Keefe, 104th Fighter Wing Commander, 104th Fighter Wing
/ Published February 10, 2013
104th Fighter Wing, Westfield, Mass. -- BarneStormers,
I first want to take a moment to share with you some good news. As
many have heard: Col. Brooks was promoted, and is now the newest General Officer in the state. Congratulations, L.A.! The promotion is well deserved, and we look forward to more leadership from you in your new capacity.
In addition to this promotion, we have much to celebrate this drill.
This Saturday night, the wing will hold its 39th annual awards banquet, were we will be able to recognize the accomplishments of individuals within the wing. (Editors note: The event is now postponed to April 6, 2013.)
In 2012, the Wing had many proud accomplishments. We successfully completed our first operational F-15C deployment to the CENTAF Area of Responsibility; we participated in multiple Aerospace Control Alert responses, Expeditionary Combat Support deployments, and Domestic Operation missions in support of our state role; and we completed our first Phase II exercise since the start of our conversion. You should all be very proud of the work we have done this past year. Please take a moment to congratulate and celebrate with this year's award winners (in April).
But, amidst the celebrations, we cannot lose focus on the months
ahead of us. In the last AirScoop, I mentioned the possibility of some major construction projects. Those projects are becoming more and more a reality. From a long-overdue hangar expansion project, to the possibility of a ramp addition and a runway refurbishment; there are many potential changes at Barnes which will affect or daily operations as well as our Consolidated Unit Inspection (CUI) preparations. (CUI is the new ORI terminology).
There is a high probability that we will have to move our flying and maintenance operations to an alternate location sometime this summer. We have been discussing these issues on the national level with the ANG command staff as well as the ACC/IG. I urge everyone to remain flexible, but also remain focused, because we still have to prepare for a CUI and Alert Force Evaluation/Inspection in the next few months.
Our ability to defend the homeland will not change; we will respond in a moment's notice to any airborne threat. We will continue to focus our attention on war-time readiness...Our commitment to the community and the environment will not change. It will take each one of you to make that happen. The most important asset we have is you, the men and women of the 104th Fighter Wing! Thank you all for your continued dedication and leadership.