A farewell letter from our command chief

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. James Felton
  • 445th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Dear 445th Family,

It has been an honor to call the 445th Airlift Wing “my home” for nearly 20 years of my 36-year-military career.

I began my Air Force career as a loadmaster with the 89th Airlift Squadron and moved on to serve as a first sergeant for the 445th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, 445th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and 87th Aerial Port Squadron, before becoming the command chief for the wing.

As my record clearly indicates, I’m not able to keep a job for very long.

In those 20 years, our outstanding squadrons and the wing staff have trained and developed me into the chief and command chief I am today – Thank you!  

As your command chief, my moto has always been, ‘Mission First, People Always!’ I have asked only two things of each you and that is to be mission ready and watch out for your wingman.

Through the years, we have faced many challenging times together: numerous deployments, two aircraft conversions, annual budget and financial constraints, major Air Force inspections and unmanageable training requirements to name a few. But in-spite of these many challenges, your dedication to our profession of arms and living our core valves of integrity, service and excellence with never saying no to any mission set given is what makes you all truly exceptional.

Regardless of the rank on your sleeve or collar you are all called to be leaders. My final request is simple, continue to be mission ready and watch out for your wingman because your nation needs you more now than ever before.

I am going to leave you with the words of another Ohio chief, Native American Shawnee, Chief Tecumseh (I believe he might have been a buckeye as well):

 “So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, and beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide. Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none. When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision.”

Thanks and Godspeed.

Chief Felton