Thursday, November 29, 2012

Commentary: 2012 -- A year of success

by Brig. Gen. Eric S. Overturf, 442nd Fighter Wing Commander
(Released by 442nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

11/28/2012 - WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- ' Tis the season to reflect on an incredibly successful 2012 for the 442nd Fighter Wing. We overcame every major obstacle and accomplished all our priorities for the year. You should be proud - I know I am!

We Supported Deployments by sending 421 of America's finest Airmen to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, and many more Airmen to bases around the globe for annual training deployments.

We Prepared for Force Structure Changes with a site activation task force for the potential closure of the 917th Fighter Group at Barksdale AFB, La. - one of our geographically separated units. We don't know what the future holds for the 917th FG because Congress put a hold on all 2013 force structure actions. We did, however, lay the groundwork for implementing whatever plan Congress approves with an emphasis on taking care of our Airmen and families.

We Stood up our Active Association, and are working side-by-side with active-duty Airmen who have become an integral part of the 442nd Fighter Wing's combat capability. More than half of the 113 personnel assigned to Detachment 2 are already here, providing additional full-time manpower and sharing our knowledge and experience.

We Successfully Completed Inspections, with terrific feedback from our consolidated unit inspection at Whiteman and operational readiness inspection at Moody AFB, Ga. (home of the 476th Fighter Group - a 442nd GSU.) We're already off and running with a plan to resolve the key drivers that led to our unsatisfactory health services inspection.

Finally, we took time to Develop and Care for Airmen and their Families despite the hardships caused by budget cuts. We had help from supporters like the Whiteman Base Community Council who stepped up to assist our Airmen and families with a wing picnic that also served as a welcome home party for many of our deployed Airmen. The 442nd Human Resources Development Council and Operation Homefront worked together to provide a baby shower and Christmas store, as well as to educate our members and families on benefits and resources available to them at no or low cost. Most impressively, during every visit to wing units I saw individual Airmen going out of their way to take care of each other when help was needed.

When you put it all together, it's clear that your hard work in the pursuit of these individual priorities resulted in the success of our overall wing mission to Train and Deploy Combat-Ready Airmen. When our nation called on the 442nd Fighter Wing, you answered with ATTACK air power and expeditionary combat support, on time and on target.

You have earned a great holiday season this year, so please take the time to relax and enjoy the holiday events that are happening across the wing this drill weekend and throughout the month with your friends, families and local communities. Remember the holidays are not easy for some people, especially those who are away from their families, so share some holiday spirit and reach out if there is an Airmen in your shop who - whether active duty or Reserve - might be away from their families during this holiday time.

Thank you for all the hard work you've put in this year. Each of you plays an important part in the success of our unit and mission. Enjoy the holiday season and have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


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