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Wing commander reviews recent events, success

WESTOVER AIR RESERVE BASE, Mass. -- Yes, I skipped October. The month really slipped by me. I cannot believe just how fast it went.

Octoberfest at the club was super. Again, well worth the $5 membership fee. Beer, brats and an Oomph band. The Galaxy Community Council (GCC) members were out in force helping out where they could and sponsoring the event. Their volunteering effort doesn't get any better than that.

Halloween was also a great success at the club! Yes, it was a bit rainy and windy so we had to move the trunk or treat inside and cancel the hay rides, but the club staff did a great job of adjusting. We had the "trunks" around the outside hallway and that led into the Scare-a-torium in the center where we had food and the bouncy house and the DJ. It looked like all the kids were having fun and the adults as well.

A big thanks goes to the club and the GCC and all those who supported the event by dressing up and bringing candy and fun. If you were not a club member, you were supposed to pay $5 for the food...I'm not sure if that got relayed or not...or tracked...there was a good bit of pandemonium going on there. Anyway if you are not a club member then you really should join...just one event and it pays you back right away. Five bucks a month isn't much for the club benefits and it helps keep our club open.

November turned into a month of temporary duty for me. First, I attended a class down at UNC Chapel Hill in North Carolina. It was a full week on strategic leadership. It was a very good class and certainly helped frame many of the initiatives that we have started here at Westover. It comes at a good time as well. In January the Wing Leadership will sit down and conduct our bi-annual strategic alignment. We will review the Mission and Vision for the Wing and plot out the Wing's path for the next few years. This is the important part: If you have ideas, please get that information up through your chain of command. The Chiefs Council will have an executive steering group to inform Command Chief Cox. In addition, each group commander will be taking input from their squadron commanders. We try and use all the surveys that are sent out, but with only about a quarter of the wing responding to those surveys it's hard to get a good feel for the things that you think we really need to go after. We get plenty of guidance from above, so we will do our best to blend all those priorities into a plan that keeps Westover on top and makes this base a place for such a superior team.

Speaking of that, we "the O-6s" headed out to Raincross at 4th Air Force headquarters in California last week. It's a few days each year where we could all sit down and get the commander's guidance for the next year. We also attended the Raincross awards ceremony where they selected the "best" Wing in 4th AF.

I'll close out this update with a safety message. I covered this in the Wing CC calls this past UTA. If you were not there then you missed out...and violated a direct order because I said they were mandatory! Seriously ..... each year on the nation's highways over 36,000 people are killed. Think about that for a minute, each year -- 36k. There have been approx. 7,000 US military killed in the war on terror since 2001. The entire Vietnam war (1964-1975) there were 58,220 US military casualties. We sacrifice that many and more in a 2-year period on our highways and interstate roads. So over the holidays, please pay attention. I want all of you to enjoy your holidays -- and come back safe and sound!

And so does Chief Cox! That's the other thing you missed if you didn't attend a CC call. She said hello to the wing and introduced herself. Our new command chief is energetic and resourceful and will do great things for all Airmen here in the 439th. Welcome Chief Cox!