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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, Massachusetts -- Welcome to the May UTA. Recently, on April 18th I had the honor of attending the reenactment of the "shot heard around the world" at the Old North Bridge in Concord, Mass. It was a humbling sight to behold, knowing that these men, in 1775, were shooting for the very first time at the "established army" of the time. Certainly, they understood the gravity of the situation. Later, the Declaration of Independence spelled it out concluding in these words: "And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor". 

This Saturday, we will uphold the sacred honor and remember those in the 104th Fighter Wing who gave their last full measure of devotion to duty with the rededication of the F-100 memorial. This ceremony is a prelude to Memorial Day, in which we honor all those who have given their lives in defense of our nation. I thank all of you for what you do every day here as a member of our armed services, your own selfless service cannot be overstated. We will have several civilian and military Distinguished Visitors on the base Saturday, so I ask that you all uphold Barnestormer standard and put our best foot forward. 

Please make sure you are ready for the June Operational Readiness Evaluation (ORE). If your UDM (Unit Deployment Manager) has asked you to do something, help the unit by getting it done. UDMs are extremely busy prior to an ORE, and you can help the team effort by making sure you take personal responsibility for completing any requirements and getting ready to deploy. Now is the time to fix any problems or discrepancies with your mobility folders. Our priority focus for May (in addition to the conversion) is the ORE, which will also help us get ready for the upcoming Health Services Inspection in August. Do your part and help the team; if you need something, to be successful, please bring it up the chain. Following the ORE, we will host approximately 10 members of the Paraguay Air Force from 15-19 June. This is part of a program known as the State Partnership for Peace, a National Guard initiative that fosters cooperation via military, socio-political, and economic conduits at local, state, and national levels. 

We just completed our quarterly safety meeting, and while things are progressing well, we have also had some ground and air safety related incidents. We all need to remember the basics, and prioritize our actions while working either on the ground or in the air. By prioritizing basic things first, we will typically also be "safe". While we work hard and play hard, the summer provides opportunities for serious personal accidents to increase. This is why the Air Force and Air National Guard has named the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day the "101 Critical Days of Summer."  Enjoy the nice summer weather, but I ask that all of you play smart and be good wingmen to one another. 

Thank you for what you do, I'd like to close with a quote from Winston Churchill; "Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival."