By Col. Robert T. Brooks, 104 Fighter Wing
/ Published June 04, 2009
BARNES AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Massachusetts -- Barnestormers, thank you all for the way in which you perform your duties. In the past two weeks I have seen us pull together as a family and as a unit. In less than two weeks, we rendered military honors to one of our retired members, buried three family members of those who serve in the 104th, and hosted a fundraiser for the family of a member we lost in the spring. It is important we value our fellow warriors and their families, it is important we remember those we have lost and it is critical we take care of one another every day. These past weeks made me especially proud and humble to be the commander of the 104th Barnestormers. We must continue to be good wingmen to one another and watch each other's backs. In the end, it is these types of things that matter most. I heard the words "perspective" and "do the best you can, with what you have, wherever you are" from Chief Reale last week. These are great words for all of us to live by and a great way to stay focused on what is important. What I write in this article simply cannot adequately describe what transpired over the past two weeks, however, I do want to thank everyone who represented the 104th in a first class manner and took care of our fellow Airmen.
I would also like to welcome and thank our Exercise Evaluation Team (EET) members who traveled here to help us in our preparation for our Phase 1 Operational Readiness Inspection (ORI) scheduled for the summer of 2011. Their own operational tempo is high like ours, and taking time away from their own wings is not always easy. In our preparation, remember that attitude is everything and if an EET member is giving instruction, it behooves us as a wing to listen to their advice. Most of these folks have recently been through a Phase 1 and can help us properly prepare. Two of the most critical things we want to accomplish are these: 1) Get our current Phase 1 processes going in the right direction and vector 2) Find out what processes are missing from our radar and get those up and running. Once we have all the pieces to the puzzle, we will start putting them together in the proper manner. We will then refine these processes over the next two years; "Outstanding" is our end state goal.
In addition to our ORE in June, we also have PERSCO Field Training at Camp Edwards, Services Combat Training at Dobins AFB, a MXG AFSO-21 event, the Paraguay Air Force visit, and Diversity Training in the next three weeks. By the time June drill is over, we will be two and half months away from our first Red Flag in the F-15, and approximately eight months away from the Air Sovereignty Alert station standup in which almost one quarter of our full-time force will be on a 24/7/365 rotating work schedule. To say 'we have a lot going on' is an understatement. It is critical we continue working together as a team to achieve our vision of becoming the most respected Fighter Wing in the Combat Air Force.
Lastly, thanks to everyone who served in some capacity on Memorial Day from the fly bys...to speaking at local events...and to those of you who marched in parades. William Harvard once said: "The greatest glory of a freeborn people is to transmit that freedom to their children." I have also heard it said: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." It is important we remember...