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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, 104 Fighter Wing - Westfield, Mass -- The Red Flag deployment was a huge success as the Barnstormers' exceeded expectations, both on the ground and in the air. I know - tell you something that you don't already know. The key here is that there is still room to improve, and improve we must. We are only as good as our last event, and there is always another event. I recently heard someone talk about discipline, and they use the term "fanatical discipline;" which means "you display extreme consistency of action‐ consistency with values, goals, performance standards, and methods. They are utterly relentless, monomaniacal, unbending in their focus on their quests." This is the every day process we need to think in terms of while here at work. We need to continue to combine this type of discipline with that positive mental attitude where we focus on what we can control - and that is ourselves. Improve as an individual, and the team improves as a whole.

On Friday we were greeted by a visit from Lt. Gov. Tim Murray, where he held a press conference discussing the strategic importance of the Massachusetts Military Units, specifically Barnes and the F-15s stationed here. His visit and message of our units' importance was punctuated with statements on our around the clock coverage of the Northeast, our support of domestic operations, the outstanding results from our recent inspections, our incredible efforts at Tyndall, Elmendorf, and Nellis Air Force Bases, and our stalwart preparation for our AEF tasking later this year. His visit came days after a document from our elected leadership was released; reemphasizing the importance of our Air Force, to include the Guard and Reserve Components, to remain strategically relevant and prepared to succeed in our current and future missions.

There were recent news releases discussing the upcoming 487 billion dollar defense cuts over the next ten years. Some news agencies speculated these cuts may include another Base Realignment and Closure Commission, they also speculated that any BRAC actions would impact certain airframes, to include A-10s, F-15s, F-16s as well as some tactical airlift aircraft. As I have said before, I believe we are in good shape as we continue to press forward in the future. If our recent history is a predictor of the future, we will continue to succeed, and in many ways, outperform any of our peers. This could not be more clearly articulated than in the fact the 104th Fighter Wing was again named an Air Force Outstanding Unit, for the eight time since 1947, clearly recognizing you as being what we've said we are, the best. Accolades like this do not come easy, and they are a product of the hard work of many individuals...those of which we will be recognizing this Drill at the Annual Awards banquet where we will celebrate our collected efforts and those who have shined above others.

As with our other accomplishments, take a moment to reflect on your achievements, but don't allow yourself to become complacent. We are still a nation at war, and we are preparing to support the efforts to defend democracy. As the Patriots prepare to go to battle with the NY Giants this weekend, we too must prepare, because "winning isn't everything, it is the only thing."