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Saving the Best for Last

  • Published
  • By Col. John McDonald
  • 43rd Airlift Wing Commander
The one thing I will always remember about this year's Operational Readiness Inspection is not the months of Mobility Exercises or the Mass PDF briefs which were honed to perfection, no, the thing I'll remember most is all the smiling faces I greeted walking into Building 560 Saturday and Sunday during the redeployment. Every face beamed with confidence, enthusiasm and motivation; faces which told stories of success and teamwork, of triumph and overwhelming pride. I know it was a long week, starting with a late Sunday night PDF briefing and ending with the last chalk just before noon last Sunday. And even though you all heard "the ORI doesn't end until you step off the plane at Pope," you still kept up the top-notch attitude that was crucial to your amazing performance as you stepped into building 560 and we accomplished the final, necessary steps of the redeployment line. 

Your incredible attitude, enthusiasm and timely humor contributed immensely to our "EXCELLENT" rating we earned during the ORI. 

Believe me, there are plenty of Airmen at wings throughout the Air Force able to do their jobs and meet the IG Mission Essential Lists without an issue. But, it's the positive attitude and the absolute attention to details which separates the satisfactory organizations from the excellent and outstanding wings, and over the last nine months you have continually stepped to the plate, and hit it "out of the park!" 

Throughout the ORI, the feedback I received from Col. Charlie Dunn, 43rd Mission Support Group Commander, was all positive and very impressive! Colonel Dunn always had good things to say, which I anticipated. Starting with our efficient passenger and cargo processing and ending with our Logistics Airmen planning the redeployment and fighting through several aircraft issues to produce a fantastic redeployment schedule, everything you did was executed extremely well. 

There are too many people for me to thank by name, so I won't insult anyone by naming names and invariably leaving out several important ones. Just know that I couldn't have asked for a better group of Airmen to lead every day, whether it is here on Pope, in Alpena for an inspection or into the AOR for a deployment. THANK YOU ALL for a job well done! 

With the ORI wrapping up and the holidays approaching, I want you to make sure you are taking the time that you need to rest and spend time with your family. I know you've been pushed hard throughout the summer and the fall, and our results are proof of your hard work and dedication. We have garnered four excellents on our four major inspections.
I've said many times how proud I am of every member of Team Pope, and how we all need to appreciate what we represent, but I'm also proud of those who came before us and Veteran's Day is the day to remember the men and women who built the foundation upon which this country rests. For as long as we have been the United States, we have had veterans. Our history is filled with their brave actions and quiet courage. Faced with different challenges, today's veterans are no different than those in our past. The theme of service before self in the Air Force - and in every service - is a constant one that binds our veterans together through the decades. Service before self is why we owe all of our veterans a debt of gratitude...yesterday, today and tomorrow. The Veteran's Day parade is tomorrow at 10 a.m. on Hay Street in downtown Fayetteville. Please make plans to attend if you can. 

Also, mark your calendars for Military Family Appreciation Week. From Nov. 15 through Nov. 21, there will be something going on for everyone, ranging from free golf to the Family Fall Festival to a Friday Family Fun Finale at Woodland Park with a live band and food! Look for more details up coming, but please choose to participate. 

Thank you for all that you do, and remember to always FALL BACK ON SAFETY, keep and eye out for your WINGMAN and never be THAT GUY!

Col. John McDonald, 43rd Airlift Wing Commander and Staff Sgt. Brian Margavich, 43rd Communications Squadron discuss preparation of the Operational Readiness Inspection slideshow Wednesday at the 43rd AW Headquarters building.