Thanks for a great year!

  • Published
  • By Col. Matthew Conrad
  • 445th Airlift Wing Vice Commander

Another year complete; what a great time to reflect. 


The 445th Airlift Wing has much to be proud of in 2016. Not the least of which is our commitment to continuous improvement which led us to receive no lower than Effective in all Unit Effectiveness Inspection categories! Beyond that, your commitment to accomplishing the mission on a day to day basis is obvious. 


There was not a single day that went by in 2016 where we did not have one of our members downrange accomplishing the mission. 


Whether in deployed status or as part of an Air Mobility Command mission—you, the experts of the 445th, were providing much needed critical support to the warfighter. Rather than statistics that I won’t remember tomorrow, I’d like to relay a few of the more poignant thoughts of the Airmen of our wing that will stick with me through the remainder of my career and beyond.


“Sir, I think the inspectors were blown away with our CE [civil engineer] folks. It was obvious they were excited to do this exercise. Frankly, it couldn’t have gone any better.”


“The deployed commander couldn’t believe how professional our Logistics Readiness Squadron troops were. He’s seen ‘em come and go but our folks were the finest he’s ever seen.  They weren’t there for a two-week vacation—they were providing critical help for both EUCOM [European Command] and AFRICOM [Africa Command].” 


“What our maintainers are doing in the way of home station checks is truly phenomenal.”


“We train and train for it, but it was extremely satisfying being able to actually provide the critical in-flight pain management he needed.”


“Sir, you should have seen it. We loaded that plane floor to ceiling with ordinance—we were all hoping for a smooth landing.”


Folks, you are incredible Airmen doing incredible things.  Each of these quotes is a reflection of Airpower—445th style. 


Our mission is critical. Your part in our mission is critical. As our commander said last month, change is coming. It’s inevitable and truly the only constant in life, but “it is the Airman, you, the very instrument the Air Force uses to implement change who truly are the greatest! Our service is strong because you, the greatest Airman, who has the capacity to adapt and evolve, faces apprehension armed with courage and our core values.” Truer words were never spoken.


As I look back at my career in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, I have been involuntarily mobilized four times. Each time I found myself in the middle of the application of Airpower far away from the comforts of home.  In each case, it was unpredictable and mobilization was a reaction to real world events. It was never convenient. However, each time it was successful due mostly because I had made a commitment to myself and my unit to be ready.


Are you ready? Just as it’s necessary to plan your Reserve year so you can meet your training objectives and get “a good year.” It is more important to be methodical about your training so you can be ready if and when you are called upon.


I know we have some goals and objectives this year as a wing. We are now in the planning stages.  However, should real world events suddenly take precedence—are you ready?


As we remember our achievements of 2016 and look forward to achieving our goals and accomplishments in 2017, let’s not forget to take care of the NOW.


I like what Gen. David Goldfein, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, said during his Air Force Update address recently as he outlined his top three focus areas:  revitalizing squadrons; strengthening joint leaders and teams; and advancing command and control.


“If we focus on these [areas] we will be ready for the next [campaign],” Goldfein said. “And this is one thing I know with absolute 100 percent clarity, we have from right now until then to get ready and it will take all of us.”


This sentiment applies to us in the wing as well. So, from right now until then, 445th, it’s time to be ready. Here comes 2017, are you ready?


Thanks for a great year, and see ya on the drill!