Commander wishes wingmen farewell
By Colonel Robert Swain Jr., 439th Airlift Wing Commander
/ Published July 19, 2011
WESTOVER, Mass., -- We have worked tirelessly getting ready. The secret of getting ahead is getting started. Three years ago we started a journey together toward being an excellent organization. We changed our mission statement to "Leaders in Excellence" to align with the Air Force core values. A statement is just words without the deeds and actions to back it up. You have done that through the various inspections: HSI, LCAP, UCI, ATSEP, ASEV, and ORI.
There's no such thing as perfection, but while striving for perfection you've become an outstanding organization. Your recent awards validate that you are the best in the command and possibly in the USAF.
The continued operations tempo, surges, and mobilizations have proved to the Air Force that when the job needs to be done they call Westover. A lot has changed in my three years here. I have a new appreciation for strategic airlift and that it truly provides global reach for our National Command Authorities. I've learned about the caring and compassion that each of you has been part of through the Family Support Activities and Key Spouse programs.
I've also relearned this: despite sometimes insurmountable odds, faith, family and friends will help us through the deployments, long hours, loss of fellow warriors and even tornados through our homes. When two of our Westover family members were in an accident after the June UTA on the turnpike, not only did one person stop to assist, but
five of our fellow warriors stopped, aided and assisted in the midst of heavy traffic until both personnel were safely placed in ambulances and rushed to local emergency rooms. This was not the case just three short years ago when we had a vehicle accident at base supply after the 2008 air show.
Winston Churchill stated, "We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give." You have given me three of the best years of memories that will stay with Diane and me as we head to our next assignment, and for that I am very grateful. I will always remember and cherish your citizen warrior participation and why you do what you do so well. My best to all of you in your future endeavors, both professional and personal. Keep making a difference, holding yourselves and fellow Airmen accountable, and don't start looking in the rear view mirror at your past accomplishments.
I'm proud to join the long blue line of Westover alumni and will be cheering you on as you tackle whatever challenges await you in the future. Please pass on my continued thanks to your families and civilian employers. Without their support, your participation would not be possible and your success would not be as fulfilling.
May you continue to find a reason to proudly wear the uniform of the Greatest Air Force in the world, because our country needs every one of you now more than ever. God bless all of you and may you continue your journey through this life with a tailwind at your back and a wingman by your side.