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The Foundations of Success

  • Published
  • By Col. John McDonald
  • 43rd Airlift Wing Public Affaris
I hope you had the chance to talk to someone who attended Tuesday evening's Airman's Appreciation Dinner. It was an A+ event, planned and executed by folks who care about the backbone of our Air Force, our young enlisted corps, and are appreciative of how our E-1s through E-4s contribute to daily operations. 

Sometimes we may lose sight and not remember the enormity of what our airmen basic, airmen, airmen 1st class and senior airmen accomplish every day. These Airmen make up the majority of our "first line of defense" across the base. No matter their AFSC, they are the foundation of our successes. 

They form the first bond in our integrated relationship with the 440th Airlift Wing and the unique relationship we share with our Army brethren from Fort Bragg. Many times they are first to have impact in generating sorties off of Green Ramp, whether performing maintenance or marshalling passengers and cargo, or they are working numerous "people" actions in the remainder of our squadrons. They are integral to every task across the base. These Airmen are ready to go, deploying well before they are of legal age to consume alcohol, and in many cases they've deployed multiple times before they turn 21. We expect our young Airmen to step out of tech school and into the fight, to make a difference from day one, and time after time they do. What is most refreshing about our Airmen is they realize you are never too young to lead by example, whether it is by showing proper customs and courtesies at ALL times or by stepping up when they see a problem they can fix. They are also master jugglers as they balance work with pursuing an education, being involved in the community and enjoying what little free-time they have left. When you take all this into account, the dinner may seem trite, but it represents the tremendous respect we have for a group of folks we may sometimes take for granted but, who we should always realize, are pivotal to Team Pope's achievements. 

There is a lot going on. It seems like we always have 15 different big events going on at once, and the community notices how out in front we are. Our Hispanic Heritage Month and Oct-SOBER-Fest events last week received community and media attention which was well deserved when you look at the effort folks put into organizing them. Hopefully you were able to participate. 

Domestic Violence Awareness Month is October, and you may have noticed the "red people" standing around the Wing Headquarters Building and fitness center. They symbolize people who are victims of domestic violence, a crime not as visible as you may think. Please take the time to attend one of the workshops or training sessions going on this month. For more information contact Capt. Courtney Ratliff with the ADAPT Program. 

We have one more milestone before the Operational Readiness Inspection! Our last Phase I MOBEX starts Tuesday and runs through Thursday, so play hard and stay sharp!
Lastly, Maj. Gen. Winfield Scott, a former 43rd Airlift Wing and Pope Commander and current 18th Air Force Commander, will visit us next Thursday and Friday, Oct. 16-17. Along with seeing many of you, General Scott will be the guest speaker for our Wing Headquarters and Parade Grounds Dedication next Friday. 

I know you don't see it, but we have countless distinguished visitors who enter Pope each week, and it's a rare occasion when they don't remark on how fantastic the base looks and how well we present ourselves. I have no doubt General Scott will feel the same way. It's the People that make the difference at Pope. Remember to "Fall Back on Safety," keep your eye on your WINGMAN and never be THAT GUY!