HomeNewsCommentariesDisplay

Commander's column

Barnes Air National Guard Base, 104 Fighter Wing - Westfield, Mass -- With 2011 upon us, I want to welcome everyone back from the New Year, and thank you for your service. Having a productive winter this year will be paramount for our success in the Logistics Compliance Assessment Program evaluation (LCAP) in March and the Unit Compliance Inspection (UCI) in June. There are many big targets on the horizon, and our focus on teamwork and communication will be the keys for our success. Make no mistake, our current priority is to maintain strong homeland defense for the North East. We also need to stand vigilant, ready to support the commonwealth in protecting its citizens from any natural or manmade disaster. But we must also prepare for this rigorous inspection schedule.

With the New Year comes the opportunity for some of you, or your families, to be effected by the post holiday blues. It is a documented fact that folks get post holiday depression for several different reasons. If you feel you may be susceptible to this phenomenon, there are multiple avenues for help. There are services on and off base, from Family Support to Military One Source; the trick is using your resources... if all else fails, tell a friend and be a good wingman if someone needs help.

In December we welcomed our new Command Chief Master Sgt., Todd Fappiano. During his comments at the assumption of authority ceremony, he spoke about the importance of communication and trust, up, down, and across the chain of command. He could not be more correct. Communication is imperative at every level, from the newest Airman to the most senior officer. This New Year, I'd like you all to make a resolution to be more effective communicators, and help each other in building stronger trust amongst the members of this world class team.

What is our focus this year? Simply, compliance! We are going to focus on ensuring we are doing the job right from the weapons system to training and all the associated paperwork.

The LCAP will give the Logistics and Maintenance areas a good hard look, preparing them for the UCI. The LCAP will undoubtedly identify for us whether or not we are heading in the right direction as a base, in preparation for the UCI. Following the LCAP, we will participate in Exercise Combat Archer, otherwise known as the Weapon System Evaluation Program (WSEP) at Tyndall Air Force Base. Six aircraft and approximately 100 members will perform live-fire air-to-air training, allowing the Air Force the opportunity to evaluate the F-15 weapon system.

Another focus is safety. With the pace of operations, coupled with the homeland defense mission and the hazards of the New England winters, I cannot stress safety enough. As most of you know, I was on the wrong end of an ice storm during my first winter here, and since then I understand how treacherous it can be. Accidents happen, but mishaps are preventable. I ask that you all take a good look at your day-to-day practices and make sure you are being as safe as you can both on the job and off.

I wish everyone a safe and successful 2011 and thank you for all your efforts in 2010.