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Celebrating Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

  • Published
  • By Col. Timothy Zadalis
  • 43rd Airlift Wing Commander
Monday, we will celebrate a man committed to peacefully fighting racism. As I always say, it is extremely important for us to recognize diversity and those who were committed to that aim. It is our backgrounds, cultures and perspectives of so many that make up the Air Force culture. It is those differences that make us so strong as a service.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, organized African-American churches to conduct nonviolent protests for the right to vote, desegregation, labor rights and other civil rights. Because of his courage in the face of violent and deadly opposition, our country made great strides in the equality of African Americans and all races.

In 1964, Dr. King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and a year later he was given the American Liberties Medallion for his impact on the freedom of others. Our nation and the Air Force are much more ethnically diverse and accepting. We are not perfect, but we all can carry on the rich legacy of a man devoted to peace. We are all one team, and we have one mission: the defense of this nation. All races, creeds, and colors have died protecting this nation's colors. We are where we are because of our diversity and devotion to excellence.

This morning, you will have an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments and life of Dr. King in the Base Chapel at 10 a.m. Senior Master Sgt. Oliver Niles, 43rd Maintenance Operations Squadron and his entire staff, have done a fantastic job putting this event together. So, come out and celebrate with us.

Every Friday from now until our Unit Compliance Inspection, we will be conducting Wing exercises. It will be your attitude and focus that will ensure we are ready to shine during the inspection. Be ready and include safety in that focus. Last week we had three ground safety incidents, two of which occurred while an aircraft was being loaded. Make sure you take your time and don't take shortcuts. Safety is the mission.

Col. John McDonald, 43rd Air Lift Wing Vice Commander, will be meeting with the Disaster Control Group, the Survival Recovery Center and other small teams that will have an important role in the upcoming inspection. These groups will be practicing and honing their critical skills.

We had several Air Mobility Command winners announced this week. I want to congratulate the 43rd Logistics Readiness Squadron for being selected as AMC's nominee for the Maj. Gen. Warren R. Carter Logistics Effectiveness Daedalian Award. I also want to congratulate the 43rd Mission Support Squadron and the Military Personnel Flight for being selected as the 2006 Outstanding Large Category MSS and MPF respectively.

Our three individual winners are Master Sgt. Charles Redburn, 43rd MOS, Senior Enlisted Education and Training Manager of the Year, Senior Airman Angelique Smith, 43rd Services Squadron, Outstanding Unit-Level Personnel Specialist of the Year, and Airman 1st Class Teila McBride, 43rd MSS, Outstanding Base-Level Personnel Specialist of the Year.

Remember, Be SAFE and ALWAYS be there for your WINGMAN.