Accident assistance, CUI efforts, highlight wing spirit

  • Published
  • By Col. Steven D. Vautrain
  • Commander, 439th Airlift Wing
This is an amazing wing! Thank you for your efforts in support of the 104th Fighter Wing, your performance during the CUI, and the great turnout for Family Day. It has been a busy summer. The Patriot Wing has risen to, and conquered, every challenge. The common theme throughout August and September was "teamwork." The wing joined together in preparation for the CUI, and that same teamwork enabled us to host the flying operations of another wing and put on a firstclass family event.

In early August we welcomed the 104th Fighter Wing to Westover. The sight of F-15s pitching out in the overhead pattern lets everyone in Western Massachusetts know that Westover is not a sleepy hollow.We are a fullservice, joint-use airfield serving heavies, fighters, helicopters, airdrop missions, and civilian flights. This activity is proof of our value to national security while operating at a fraction of the cost of an active-duty base.

The foremost event for the wing this summer was the Consolidated Unit Inspection in August. The Patriot Wing lived up to our motto of "Leaders in Excellence" by earning an overall EXCELLENT. Everyone in the wing contributed to these outstanding results, but the IG team identified 10 superior performers, eight Airmen with exemplary military bearing, and 11 superior teams. The wing recognized an additional 30 people for their superior performance. Coins and certif icates will be awarded at Commander's Call in October.

Family Day was also a resounding success. It provided an opportunity for us to relax and spend time with our families. The bounce houses, cotton candy stand, face painting tent, volleyball courts, and dunk tank were in full swing throughout the day. It was good to see so many people out enjoying themselves. The Galaxy Community Council, Pioneer Valley USO, Westover Chiefs' Council, Civil Air Patrol, and many other agencies outdid themselves providing an enjoyable afternoon to about 3,200 people.

Thank you for this monumental effort.

An unexpected event during the September UTA highlighted one of the strengths of the Patriot Wing. There was a vehicle accident on the Massachusetts Turnpike early Sunday morning. Nine people from the 439th and 104th stopped to render assistance. Some provided first aid while others helped clear debris from the highway. These citizen airmen could have driven past the accident scene, leaving it to someone else, but they stopped and helped someone in need. This act of service before self speaks volumes about the spirit of the men and women who serve our country, and in particular the Patriot Wing.

I'm proud to be a member of that team and even more proud to be the commander of the best wing in the Air Force. Thank you for all you do.