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Commander’s Column

Col. Robert “L.A.” Brooks, Wing Commander, 104 Fighter Wing, Barnes ANGB

Col. Robert “L.A.” Brooks, Wing Commander, 104 Fighter Wing, Barnes ANGB

Barnes Air National Guard Base, 104th Fighter Wing - Westfield, Mass -- Welcome to September 2012 UTA. I want to take this time to welcome our deployed personnel home. Our aviation package, along with several expeditionary combat support personnel deployed to several locations in the Middle East anywhere from six weeks to six months; and you continue to go out the door. Many of you were leaders in various capacities and roles, and volunteered to go overseas without having to ... I want to thank you for that.

Recently in a speech, retired General Petraeus pointed out that in World War II, 11.2% of the nation served for four years. During the Vietnam era, 4.3% served for twelve years. Since 2001, only 0.45% of our population has served in the Global War on Terror.

Overtime, fewer and fewer people have shouldered more and more of the burden and it is only getting worse. I want to thank the families of those who deployed, as you all are shouldering the burden as well; you are truly "The Few." The amazing thing about the 104th, is we had folks deployed from Jordan to Afghanistan and you all were still fulfilling the ACA mission back home while preparing for the first ORI in over fourteen years. My hat is off to you, thanks for your service to this great nation. I also want to offer a big thanks the Family Readiness Group chaired by Master Sgt. Tina Dimino-Frazer for support to our airmen and families during the past year - they have done a phenomenal job.

As most of you know, we will have a change of command in MXG on Saturday. We lose a great Commander in Lt. Col. Bob Henry. Bob's impact to this Wing has been enormous, and he will be missed. Lt. Col. Henry took on the challenge of LRS Commander within a year to the UCI and LCAP, and hit a grand slam (9 Lansdowne). He then accepted the challenge of MXG Command. I appreciate him doing this, his infectious positive mental attitude while placing the mission first, and continuing to advance this Wing to the next level as we went out the door on our first ever AEF in the F-15 Eagle.

While we lose a great MXG/CC, we also gain a great new addition in Col. Pete Green and his family. Col. Green is very familiar with the 104th Fighter Wing and in fact has served here many years including two tours as squadron commander in a combat AOR. We appreciate him accepting this challenge with the ORI just over a year out, and I know you and your MXG team will continue the fine standard that has been set by you all in the F-15 and CAF community.

If you have not yet seen the new FY 2013 goals, please ensure you are familiar with them and have them posted in your shops. Our vision remains to be the most respected Fighter Wing in the Combat Air Force. While there are many indicators we are near the top including the recent AEF, it is time to move on to the next event. There is plenty of room for improvement in all areas and at all levels in the wing. You only have to look at our one day phase 2 prior to the aviation AEF to realize how far we have to go to be ready for a combined ORI. A hungry dog runs faster, so it's time to get on to the business of getting better every day at everything you do, whether it is personal or professional. There is a time/place for recognition and rewards, and we will accomplish that. However, right now it's time to focus our efforts. How you do anything is how you do everything, and the 104th Fighter Wing is choosing the path of success so let's roll our sleeves up and get on with our business. Leadership at all levels; you have to be a good follower before you are a good leader; accountability at all levels; teamwork (all levels); individual responsibility; do the right thing; do things right; don't spread rumors. There is a lot of blood, sweat, and guts between dreams and success.