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Still Making An Impact ... Every Day!

  • Published
  • By Col. John McDonald
  • 43rd Airlift Wing Commander
Today I will receive the out brief from our Base Realignment and Closure Site Activation Task Force visit, number 4. And while we wait for decisions to be made between the Air Force and Army HQ Staffs we'll continue to posture ourselves for success and begin to implement our plans for the realignment of Pope's real property and our organizations. 

While we do this though, I want you to appreciate that the impact your numerous contributions to the Air Force mission is stronger than ever. 

For proof of that, look no further than the special recognition we have received in the form of awards over the past several weeks. 

The Operations Group has kept up a steady deployment tempo, as have most units across the base, and their hard work was rewarded when they swept the 2008 Institute of Navigation Award, the Daedalian Exceptional Pilot Award, and the Field of Aviation and Astronautics Awards. 

Capts. Ken Hoekman and his crew of Evac 01, Mason McGarvey and J. Andrew Blankenship and Staff Sgt. Mark Pfeiler were all rewarded for their valor, outstanding accomplishments and commitment to the mission. You can read the story about Captain Hoekman and his crew's accomplishments at; and keep your eyes open for the stories in the Carolina Flyer over the next few weeks. 

The Operations Group also scored big when Lt. Col. Jennifer Kimmet and Capt. Vanessa Moses were awarded the Major General Barbara C. Brannon Nursing Leadership Award and the Company Grade Flight Nurse of the Year Award respectively. 

Additionally, and equally impressive, our Medical Group received the USAF Surgeon General Award for the Best Clinic of the Year! That's the Best Clinic in the entire Air Force--that is definitely Popetastic! 

And though I know everyone in the clinic worked hard and long as a team to achieve this status, we had Individual performers recognized with Air Force-level awards as well: Maj. Alvin Barber was named the David Gwinn USAF Field Grade Physician Assistant of the Year, Capt. Marquita N. Price is the Health Care Integrator of the Year and Capt. Vincent S. Syers is the USAF Clinical Excellence Company Grade Officer of the Year. 

These folks' recognition coupled with the performance of the entire clinic and the Airmen from the 43rd OG prove undeniably Individual Actions Matter and they should serve to remind you to never forget the tremendous impact of what you do every day. 

I started talking about BRAC and it's definitely part of our road ahead, but over the past year we saw many things change in our Pope community. 

In terms of personnel, we continued to downsize. But despite our smaller numbers, we sustained our airlift and other war fighter support missions at 100 percent day after day.
The awards previously mentioned, in addition to being nominated by AMC for the Air Force Association Unit Citation of Honor and other awards which will no doubt continue to roll in, prove Air Mobility Command, the Air Force and the Department of Defense are still standing up and taking notice of Team Pope. 

Never forget, one of our main priorities is to never let the warfighter down - I know we'll continue our Pope commitment to maximizing combat power while breaking new ground building the future Airlift Support Group. 

Speaking of recognition and awards, invite each of you to join me in honoring our annual award winners at the Pope Club during the Annual Awards Banquet; but time is running out. I do not want you to miss this great event, so if you haven't yet purchased your ticket(s), do so by contacting your First Sergeant. Mr. Dan Clark, one of the finest motivational speakers in the country, will be our guest speaker. 

Bring your paper and pens, because Mr. Clark will leave you with absolutely life-changing "take aways." You'll be completely engrossed by his straight-forward, basic reasonable thoughts and concepts from which you will immediately harvest tremendous benefits. I promise! 

Coming up at the end of the month is another special event, Military Saves Week. The folks from the Airmen and Family Readiness Center have planned a week of great events, kicking off on Feb. 23 with North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper as our guest speaker. 

There will be seminars all week focused on education regarding proper financial management, so mark your calendar and contact the Airmen & Family Readiness Center to register for all or some of the classes offered. 

Lastly, and I know it seems far off, but the date for the Air Force Assistance Fund's 24-Hour Endurance Run is set. April 3 through 4 of this year will be the biggest "Wow" event this base has seen to date, but it is dependent upon your participation. 

The Company Grade Officer's Council has led Team Pope in raising more than $25,000 over the last two years' runs, and with the addition of some great new events (including a Strongman competition) I'm convinced we'll set the bar even higher once again. 

So begin planning your teams, 24-hour (Yeah!) or 12-hour (Huh?), and lining up your pledge sponsors to bring in the serious dollars. It's never too early to start designing your "village" in our tent city or figuring out how your car stereo will win the "volume" competition. 

It's going to be another incredible 24 hours, another "day in the life" of Pope, another example of the fact it's different here, and it's different great! 

Thanks for all you do, your ceaseless commitment and dedication, and thank your families for their sacrifices. And always remember as a Wingman, Leader and Warrior, we may not be great all the time, but we can always do our best and always do what's right ... and it's always critical to appreciate your Individual Actions Matter. 

Finally, renew your pledge weekly, out loud (so others can hear you) I AM responsible, I AM accountable, and I AM going to make a positive difference! 

You are Popetastic! Have a great week and be an impact Airman with Wow!