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Team Pope’s DV Deluge

  • Published
  • By Col. Timothy Zadalis
  • 43rd Airlift Wing Commander
I've always believed that if you do something that positively impacts the mission, important people will want to come see it and meet you. That being said, last week's "DV deluge" clearly demonstrated that Team Pope is the Pride of the Force as a lot of very important people came to see us. 

Our deluge began with 80 Civilian Aides to the Secretary of the Army. These aides, or CASAs, are civic leaders from around the country who are appointed as advisors to the Army secretary and are considered the equivalent of a lieutenant general. While we weren't able to fly them in one of our C-130s as planned because of weather, they were extremely impressed by the static displays our 2nd Airlift Squadron and 43rd Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron operators set up for them. My thanks to Staff Sgt. Jason Dickinson, Senior Airman Justin Shepard, Capt. Kathy Martin, Capt. Vanessa Moses, Tech. Sgt. Michael Baker, Tech. Sgt. Mellisa Crawley, Senior Airman Nikolaus Falcon, Capt. Jason Herring, 1st Lt. Chad Sellers, 1st Lt. Chris Denzer, Senior Airman Hannah Godar, Senior Airman Daniel Cox, Staff Sgt. Bradley Fox, and Master Sgt. Scott Mello for their outstanding efforts with the short-notice request. The CASA group was joined during the week by Maj. Gen. Thomas Bostick, Commander of U.S. Army Recruiting Command; Benedict Cohen, the Army's general council; Sgt. Maj. of the Army Kenneth Preston; and by Army Chief of Staff, Gen. George Casey. This was Gen. Casey's first visit to Pope, and while here, he hosted Fort Bragg's installation-wide Leadership Forum, held at Pope's Base Theater. The Leadership Forum included all military ranks, spouses, and civilians. Several members of the Pope team were invited to sit in on the forum. Those of us lucky enough to attend, gained valuable insight into the Army's way ahead. Thank you to Senior Airman Kevin Davis, Tech. Sgt. Larry Knoll, Staff Sgt. Mark Pitts, Airman 1st Class Corey Gash, 2nd Lt. Richard Davis, Jr., Staff Sgt. Zackery Turbyfill, Senior Airman Jolleen Mooneyham, Senior Airman Tommy Edgar and Senior Airman Ebone Walker for all their assistance. 

We were also honored to have Maj. Gen. Melissa Rank visit. She is the Air Force's top nurse, and while here, toured Womack Army Medical Center, the 43d Medical Group and the 43rd Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron. She discussed a range of issues including the medical career field's role in the war on terrorism, Base Realignment and Closure, the future of Air Force nursing, and force shaping effects within the Air Force Medical Service. Maj. Gen Rank was accompanied by Chief Master Sgts. Donna Totten, her enlisted advisor, and David Lewis, the enlisted functional representative. Capt. Marquita Price, 1st Lt. Joseph Hudson, Lewis Oatman and Lt. Col. Jim Dienst of the 43rd MDG, and 1st Lt. Tamara Passut from the 43rd AES, all did an outstanding job coordinating the complicated itinerary for these visitors. More than 15 people gave briefings about their individual missions during the visit. 

Our Smart Ops office also hosted a group of distinguished visitors who visited Pope at the invitation of the Secretary of the Air Force. Royal Air Force Air Vice Marshall Peter Dye, who runs the RAF Transformation and LEAN programs, was escorted by Brig. Gen. "Taco" Gilbert and Dr. Ron Ritter, his Air Force counterparts, to see how Team Pope does Smart Ops. 1st Lt. Jamie Kelly and Master Sgt. Desiree Strong from the AFSO 21 office coordinated briefings that included our Rapid Outprocessing Event, the IDEA program, an energy initiative that will save us thousands of dollars every year, and the 43rd MDG Rapid Improvement Event. The visitors departed with the understanding that Pope does Smart Ops better than anybody else in the Air Force! We need to take pride that Pope was one of only two Air Force bases they visited! They also visited Hill AFB to see the F-16 depot. 

Air Vice Marshall Dye wasn't our only international visitor last week. I had the honor to greet General Lieutenant Valeriy Frolov, Commander in Chief of the Army of the Armed Forces of the Ukraine before he toured the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, and XVIII Airborne Headquarters April 19. 

A group of Japanese Rotarians visited Pope as part of a Rotary International exchange tour April 20. They all work in the health field and were treated to a tour of the 43rd AES courtesy of Capt. Sharon Frazier. 

The DV inundation continued with the CAPSTONE visit which included two senior fellows and 40 new brigadier generals or their equivalents. This auspicious group also included retired Gen. Robert "Skip" Rutherford, former Commander, Air Mobility Command. CAPSTONE visits occur approximately four times each year and participants receive a Joint Special Operations Command brief. Our Protocol Office, including Anne Niece, Capt. Jennifer Kuhns, Capt. Virginia Walker, and Tech. Sgt. Sandy Bezue, did a fantastic job coordinating the logistics and synchronizing itineraries for all of these guests. 

Thanks to everyone involved in making these visits operate smoothly and show off the best and brightest that Pope offers. Our base appearance was superb, and I know that takes a lot of work. Your extra efforts are appreciated by our visitors and all of Team Pope! 

For the ninth year in a row, Pope has been recognized as a Tree City USA Award winner. This award encompasses our appearance and also the work we do to maintain and better our environment. This is an enviable record and is thanks in great part to the 43rd Civil Engineer Squadron Environmental Flight, who were also key players in the outstanding Earth Day celebration that took place at Pope Elementary School on April 20. Many thanks to 13-year-old Kaya Clark, who gave an outstanding Native American Dance performance! 

Thanks also to the members of the 43rd Maintenance Group, 43rd Comptroller Squadron and others who traveled to 71st High School in Fayetteville to judge the Junior ROTC Drill Competition. 

We continue to do great things at Pope, but we all need to remember to be SAFE, watch out for your WINGMAN, and never be THAT GUY.