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Understand what you fight for in 2008

  • Published
  • By Col. John McDonald
  • 43rd Airlift Wing Vice Commander
Happy New Year Team Pope and thank you for your outstanding work in 2007! Because of your motivation and tremendous mission accomplishment in 2007, I am convinced we will enjoy continued success in 2008.

We should never lose sight of the fact every Group in the Wing, along with our warfighting partners, currently has members deployed who are conducting and supporting actions directly contributing to the Global War on Terrorism. Although those deployed members didn't have the opportunity to enjoy the holidays with their loved ones, their sacrifices and the sacrifices you and all our families made during last year are making a difference.

Just before the holiday festivities began, we had the pleasure of hosting Gen. Arthur Lichte, Air Mobility Command Commander. The visit was a huge success.
Many individuals' superb planning and flexibility to react to last minute changes guaranteed the smooth execution of this critical event. General Lichte saw first hand what makes Pope such a special place: the people -- every one of you, our unique joint mission, and your motivation.

As we begin our efforts in 2008, I want you to take a minute to refocus and appreciate what it means to be a Pope Airman. Each person at Pope has a responsibility to learn their job to the best of their ability -- everyone at Pope contributes to the mission. Though your contribution may seem small, each and every one of you is vital to achieving Pope's mission: to provide effective combat power while building combat-ready leaders ... today and every day.

The Wing's mission includes our warfighting partners; together we provide combat airlift and mobility warfighting capabilities across the spectrum of military operations and we champion for and support our warfighting partners' in-garrison training needs and operational deployment requirements. Each person plays a crucial role in accomplishing this mission at home and around the world. The men and women of Pope -- 43rd AW and our Warfighting partners -- represent our Services and our nation well. I'm incredibly proud of your professionalism and commitment each day.

Knowing and understanding our mission is critical to accomplishing it, and knowing your job and the tasks to complete your job is fundamental to realizing how you contribute to the mission. Focusing on the basics of our job enhances core mission achievement. 

You may find it easier to refocus your efforts and make sure we maintain our path of success by keeping the Wing goals in mind: Deliver Worldwide Joint Combat Capability; Attract, Develop, and Retain Quality Airmen; Improve and Sustain Our Infrastructure; Foster a Safe and Healthy Environment for all Airmen; and Create and Encourage a Culture of Innovation.

Being aware of our goals is crucial to accomplishing the mission as well as knowing and understanding the Wing priorities; they answer the question of why we are here and what is expected of each of you each day. Our main priorities for the 43rd Airlift Wing are to never let the warfighter down -- continue our Pope tradition of maximizing combat power while continuing to institute the BRAC-mandated changes. Next, developing and caring for our Airmen and keeping supporting programs in place as long as people live and work at Pope. Also, we must continue our work to shape the future of Pope Field --focus on infrastructure, facilities and equipment replacement necessary to execute the Air Force mission today and post-BRAC, and finally, strive for a seamless transfer of "real property" to the Army while upgrading infrastructure the Air Force will retain.
As we continue to maintain standards here at Pope and deploy in support of the war, we must never lose sight of the basic need to take care of each other and our families; this is the secret of our success and our most important resource.

Finally, if you'll take a moment as we kick off 2008 and recalibrate your efforts, ensuring your activities are properly aligned with the direction of the Wing, the upcoming year should be as successful, if not more so than 2007. Planning oriented on our mission, goals and priorities, is planning for success. It provides a foundation to build upon and creates opportunities to excel.

Though the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure law will impact our activities, remember our mission remains vital to the Air Mobility Command and Air Force mission. I challenge you to continue to move forward, striving each day to meet goals which will result in another successful year for Team Pope.

And as we begin this new year of 2008, remember to always be SAFE, watch out for your WINGMAN, and never be THAT GUY.