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Our Differences Make Us Great

  • Published
  • By Col. John McDonald
  • 43rd Airlift Wing Commander
I looked out among the crowd at the Pope Club last week for the Asian-Pacific American Heritage luncheon and realized how wonderfully diverse the crowds always are for those events. 

It's not a rent-a-crowd at the club when we have these observance lunches, its people who actually have an interest in the speaker and the heritage celebrated. And I know this will continue for all observance month celebrations throughout the year. 

It is indicative of a greater quality here, the way Team Pope capitalizes on our differences to excel as one of the Air Force's best installations. Take, for example, the differences in the missions of our squadrons and tenant units. From working maintenance and servicing any plane that comes onto our flightline to feeding and housing our Airmen and visitors, Team Pope always comes together to get the job done, like we did with our third Mobility Exercise. 

The Wing did a great job processing cargo, walking post-attack reconnaissance routes, working self aid and buddy care scenarios and, most importantly, preparing for our Operational Readiness Inspection in October. I know the week was stressful given the normal operations which continued despite the exercise inputs, but don't let up with your training and stay vigilant, because these situations can happen in the real world at any time. 

Are you ready? That seems to be a common question around the base lately, where have I heard it before? But this time everyone is talking about gearing up for Match-Up 2008, because we are "In It To Win It! Again!" We've won AMC's summertime event two years in a row, and the kickoff event held at Pope Park Tuesday was just the beginning of activities held around the base to ensure we succeed, but it's going to take everyone's participation! Our goal is to get well over eleven thousand people to sign up and play, so pick up your Match Up tickets at all the events advertised by new Force Support Squadron, which stood up with Wednesday's merger of Mission Support and Services Squadrons. 

One place where there will be plenty of fun involving Match Up and many other events is the Wing Picnic! This year's picnic is June 19, so mark your calendars and plan to come, bring your family and enjoy the food, Sports Day and Lip Sync Competition all day at Woodland Park

On June 27, I am hosting another tremendous event I hope you'll plan to attend, the first Difference Maker's Golf Tournament. I realize at times it seems we have a lot of golf tournaments each year, and we always have great participation, but quite simply, this tournament is focused on making a difference here at Pope. All of the money raised will go to assist agencies across the base, such as the First Sergeant's Association, the Chapel's Angel Tree, and others aimed at helping Team Pope Airmen and their families, not just 43rd AW Airmen, Team Pope Airmen. So if you are a difference maker, and you want to make a difference in the "Quality of Living" at Pope for many, many folks, I'll look forward to seeing you June 27th. 

Winning Match Up and playing golf to raise money for great charities are just two ways of building Pope Pride. There will be many more as the summer progresses. Speaking of summer continuing, I need all of you to continue your vigilance as a "Safety Manager." 

Don't let your guard down, because when you do, you are most at risk. Safety is not a program, it's part of our culture, it's ingrained as the way we do business, both on- and off-duty. Remember the video from my Commanders Call, "it's just that simple, if a 3-year old can get it, so can you." We may all come from different backgrounds, and our successes may be cemented in our difference strengths, but in this effort we all need to be the same --Be SAFE! Keep your eye on your WINGMAN and don't be THAT GUY!