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Take Time To Get Involved

  • Published
  • By Col. John McDonald
  • 43rd Airlift Wing Commander
The first Air Mobility Command Family Day of 2008 is here, marking the beginning of summer. We've celebrated Memorial Day with our annual ceremony in the Air Park, but there is still a long weekend to spend remembering those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. We get a constant reminder of our mission every single day; our deployment cycle is as rapid as ever. But, we must never forget the brave members of our nation's armed forces who have died in service to our country, such as Tech. Sgt. Will Jefferson, 21st Special Tactics Squadron, who was killed in action in Afghanistan earlier this year. Please take the time to participate in the National Moment of Remembrance, by observing a moment of silence on Monday at 3 p.m. 

Being in the middle of the fight every day means that we all need time to relax. Returning from your long weekend does not mean that your summer fun is gone. In fact, it's just beginning, because now is the time to plan on participating in all the events happening this summer at Pope. 

I've heard people say, 'There's nothing to do at Pope.' This summer season is packed with activities. It's easy to have fun on base and get involved with programs and professional organizations. In most cases, it's also very affordable or free. 

The Summer Splash takes place today and the Pope Pool is once again open for business every day except for Monday. The pool is a great place to relax and have fun with friends and family, and it's also a great way to get in a workout. 

Keep your eyes open for news about the annual Sports Day and Base Picnic. It is June 19 and once again we'll be bringing out all of Team Pope for great food, tug of war, basketball tournaments and more. 

The Pope Regatta is a hilarious event-- where else could you try to paddle your best cardboard boat back and forth in the pool for prizes? 

And if the water isn't your thing, then try the Pope Box Derby. You can come out and watch people try to survive riding down Reilly Road in their best homemade vehicles. 

A little further down the road we'll be having our Fourth of July Fire Cracker Splash and a completely revamped Pope Idol, with the winner getting a chance to compete at our Air Mobility Command headquarters finals October 23. 

Finally, don't forget the wrap up event, Pope Floats will be back again; the one time of the year everyone can come out to the pool and use their inner tubes to hang out in the water plus much more. 

As you can see, there are plenty of opportunities to have fun at Pope this summer.
Another event you'll want to take advantage of is our very successful Drug Education for Youth (DEFY) program which is in its second year and kicks off with a fantastic five-day leadership camp June 23 to 27 at Smith Lake. I highly recommend this program to those of you with children ages 9 to 12. The campers always learn a lot about leadership and teamwork while making friendships that will last a lifetime. The DEFY staff and team members are some of Team Pope's sharpest folks, and during last year's program the campers took field trips, such as one to the North Carolina Aquarium, and took part in monthly leadership activities in the form of games and active, outdoor events. 

I hope you had the chance to tell me what was on your mind at the Commander's Call, but if we ran out of time, I encourage you to express your opinion and reach out to our senior Air Force leaders directly by taking the 2008 Community Assessment survey at 

This survey is geared toward all active duty, reserve, and civilian Air Force members by invitation. The survey is also open to ALL spouses of active duty members, and we are encouraging every spouse of an active duty Team Pope Airman to participate. This survey has impacted many programs Air Force-wide over the past few years, so I hope you take the time to participate. 

The bottom line is this: You are the ones completing the mission, doing the work every day to get the job done. As I stated during the Commander's Calls, I am totally committed to taking care of your needs and those of your families. Take the time you and your family deserves to have fun. Use the outlets available to you to make a difference in the lives of our entire Air Force community. And as always, remember, be SAFE, keep your eye on your WINGMAN and don't be THAT GUY!