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Wingmen helping Wingmen on Pope

  • Published
  • By Col. Timothy Zadalis
  • 43rd Airlift Wing Commander
The Wingman spirit has always been a large part of Team Pope's culture, and I found out just how much during Operation Night Hawk held on Saturday night and into Sunday morning. 

St. Patrick's Day is traditionally known as a time to celebrate. During Operation Night Hawk, everyone who came through the Reilly and Manchester Gates was told to report to the Fitness Center where their vehicles were searched by military working dogs, and drivers were asked to submit to urinalysis. Quite a few people had been drinking, and all but one had a Wingman performing designated driver duties. We gave out a lot of Wingman coins that night, and I greatly appreciate our people taking care of each other. My thanks to all the commanders and first sergeants who were out late helping make sure the program ran without a hitch. 

Speaking of the Wingman spirit, the Air Force Assistance Fund drive is still going on and doing very well. On the down side, only 13 percent of our people have participated so far. I encourage everyone to consider donating to this worthy cause, because we are helping ourselves when we do so. Money raised during the AFAF drive goes toward loans and grants for emergencies and education, and helps older Air Force veterans and their widows/widowers who may not be able to afford basic necessities like rent. We have held several special events for the AFAF drive including a golf tournament yesterday at Willow Lakes Golf Course and tonight's Team Pope Endurance Rally at the Fitness Center Track. The Endurance Rally is a 24-hour relay race, so come by tonight, find a Company Grade Officers Council member and pledge a donation to the AFAF drive.

 Also, during the Relay we will hold a Loudest Car Stereo contest at the Base Fitness Center parking lot to see who is the Pope Decibel Champion. That's right, today from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m., if you enter the contest, you can crank up the volume and I won't mind -- that is for an hour! This is your chance to show off your car audio system and see if you can blast me out of the parking lot, as I will be judging the contest. This temporary exemption to Pope's noise abatement policy is only if you have entered the contest, only in the Pope Fitness Center parking lot and only between 8:30 and 9:30 tonight. You can contact Staff Sgt. Greg Whitted, 43rd Civil Engineer Squadron, at 394-4030 to enter. All of these events provide an opportunity to help those who help us and every pledge counts. Your squadron AFAF representatives are happy to take your donations.
Our people are still being called on to show their expertise at the highest levels. Maj. Anthony Antoline, 43rd Maintenance Squadron, and Master Sgt. Chris Guttenberg, 43rd Maintenance Group, recently returned from Washington D.C., where they did an outstanding job assisting Maj. Gen. Thomas Kane from Air Mobility Command as he explained to Senate staffers why we need to retire our aging C-130E fleet. My thanks to them for their outstanding efforts in support of General Kane. 

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