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Always Have An Impact – Everyday

  • Published
  • By Col. John McDonald
  • 43rd Airlift Wing Commander
As you are all fully aware, we're pushing toward the successful completion of a year-long quest, our Operational Readiness Inspection in Alpena, Mich. next month. Now we begin the polishing and the sharpening -- this is when we get into the details involved and show why we are a cut above. The efforts in the coming weeks will demonstrate to the Inspector General team that Team Pope is absolutely a cut above our peers. For proof of that, look no further than a group of our Airmen from the 43rd Security Forces Squadron who deployed together again in support of the Global War on Terrorism, or the same group of 26 Airmen from the 43rd Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron and 43rd Medical Group who left to provide humanitarian relief for Hurricane Ike just six days after returning from providing crucial relief for folks impacted by Hurricane Gustav. 

Whether deployed or in-garrison, we all play a part in ensuring we're combat ready whenever the call comes. Keep up the great work you do every day and Pope will continue to be recognized as home of the Air Force's finest Warrior Airmen.
Folks have also been "steppin' out" doing some great things to ensure we have opportunities to enjoy camaraderie off-duty as well. Saturday's Air Force Ball was a classy event from start to finish. The folks who put it together have my gratitude for showing our Airmen, their guests, retirees and people from all over the community a great evening. 

Some of those same community leaders who attended the Air Force Ball received a mission brief and tour of one of our Warfighting Partners this past Wednesday when the 18th Air Support Operations Group demonstrated their crucial mission during our first Honorary Commanders Day since June's induction ceremony. The Air Combat Command side of Pope works hand-in-hand everyday with the 43rd Airlift Wing, 440th Airlift Wing and the Army; it's a mission rarely seen but one that contributes immensely to Pope's great reputation. 

Another reason for our great reputation is our record of safety. While we had two DUIs last weekend, before that, we'd gone almost two months without a DUI, an unbelievable feat -- couple that with the fact Air Mobility Command went through the 101 Critical Days of Summer without a fatality. It is apparent we recognize the importance of "being your own safety manager" and influencing those around you in a positive way. Obviously the two incidents this weekend also point out we can't let up. We need to carry our efforts forward until everyone internalizes the idea that Safety is not a program, it's the way we approach everything we do every day and every time. Never forget, the volunteers from Airmen Against Drunk Driving are always ready to help if you've had too much to drink. Additionally, the safety offices from the 43rd and 440th Airlift Wings have combined efforts to conduct the Alive at 25 defensive driving course. We've lost too many Airmen to traffic accidents, and this course is designed to lessen the likelihood of you being involved in an accident by providing you some tools for success. 

Since taking care of our Wingman is "how we roll," participating in this year's Combined Federal Campaign should come naturally. I need you to step up and do the right thing. The CFC gives us the opportunity to take care of something I believe is our responsibility, giving back and taking care of others, or giving back to folks who have helped us or our family members. This is one of only two Air Force-authorized fundraising activities conducted each year, and your chance to contribute to agencies of your choice working towards noble goals, many which benefit Team Pope directly. There are hundreds of different agencies to choose from. For just the cost of going to a movie and getting some popcorn, you can help in the fight to cure cancer, juvenile diabetes or some other disease. Whatever your personal priorities or beliefs, there are agencies that can benefit greatly from your participation. When your unit key worker stops by and asks you to contribute, please do. Remember our success depends on the individual --you! 

Thank you to all of you who came out to support an organization that has been supporting us for decades. The Pope Special Activities Committee held its annual golf tournament at Willow Lakes Golf Course Sept. 12, and all the money they raised will go to help Team Pope people, programs and activities. 

Finally, I anticipate seeing everybody at one of the Commander's Calls scheduled for Thursday and Friday of next week, Sept 25 and Sept. 26 at the base theater. I have some important information to pass along, and I want you to bring your concerns to me and let me know what is important to you as well. 

But always, remember to BE SAFE, watch out for your WINGMAN and never be THAT GUY!