By Col. Peter Nezamis, 126th Air Refueling Wing
/ Published October 27, 2009
Scott AFB, Ill. -- Sometimes no matter how confident you are about something, it's nice to have someone else confirm what you already know. That's exactly what happened in August when our Wing underwent our UCI, LSET, and HSI inspections. Our overall grades of 'Excellent,' 'Outstanding,' and 'Excellent' respectively only confirmed what I already know about the men and women of this Wing and the 126th ARW as a whole.
Your months of dedicated and selfless preparation and attention to detail were reflected in the various inspection reports through comments such as, "exceptional teamwork, unity, and capability to accomplish the mission with enthusiasm and pride;" "displayed impeccable command and control throughout the evaluation;" "regardless of what skill set a member possessed, they capitalized on the team concepts to ensure mission success;" "the team was extremely knowledgeable in all areas and fully engaged in all facets of their area of responsibility;" and "the team demonstrated superior attention to detail and an ability to prioritize actions."
The common theme throughout the aforementioned comments is this - teamwork! Like you do every day, each of you pooled your individual talents and produced results which we are incapable of achieving individually. I'm extremely proud of our results but definitely not surprised by them...well done!
What we accomplished during these recent inspections did not impact our commitment to our every day mission and the responsibilities that come with our uniform. We still have many members from our Wing deployed to various AORs around the globe, including more than 30 Security Forces Members currently serving in Iraq. In typical 126th ARW fashion, these men and women are going above and beyond the call of duty and providing support outside of their duty requirements.
Many of them are participating in 'The Good Neighbor Program,' which is where supplies are collected and delivered once a month to an adjoining Iraqi military training base. The base houses Iraqi soldiers and their families during times of military training, but supplies are extremely limited. Our SFS troops are working in conjunction with the Rising 6 Group at their deployed location and are gathering toiletries, school supplies, clothes, and toys and are delivering them to the Iraqi soldiers and their families on a monthly basis.
During this timeframe we saw the official standup of our Active Association Squadron, the 906th Air Refueling Squadron. We'll have a ceremony and small reception to honor this event on 10 November in our maintenance hangar. Active Associations are a relatively new concept in the Air Force's Total Force Integration efforts, but will ultimately generate efficiencies by sharing resources and reducing duplication of effort. This association is a win-win for both the Air National Guard and the United States Air Force, and our Wing was chosen to host this association because of the historic service we have provided to both organizations.
The 906th has a storied history and will no doubt continue its mission successfully here at Scott AFB under the command of Lt Col Joe Santos.
Lt. Col. Santos is an Active Duty commander with experience as a civil engineer prior to attending specialized undergraduate pilot training. He is a senior pilot with more than 2,900 flying hours in the KC- 135R/T and C-130H/E. Prior to taking command of the 906th, Lt. Col. Santos was stationed here at Scott AFB assigned to the 618th Tanker Airlift Control Center, so he brings a wide-range of experience to the table. I have confidence in his abilities and willingness to meet any challenges head on and help guide our association towards the future. Welcome, Joe and welcome to every member of your squadron.
Also during this timeframe, we welcomed a new squadron commander to the ranks within the 126th ARW. Lt. Col. Chuck Camp took command of the 108th Air Refueling Squadron during the October UTA. Lt. Col. Camp takes command during an exciting and challenging time with new missions on the horizon and our Active Association squadron standing up and increasing their manpower daily. I know Lt. Col. Camp will guide the 108th down the path to success and I'm excited to watch the opportunities unfold. Congratulations and good luck, Chuck!
Looking ahead just slightly, the holiday season will soon be upon us. I know we have many Family Program events planned and various efforts lined up to support both our Wing and the local community. I thank you all in advance for your generosity and willingness to always give your time, talents, efforts, and money to help those in need. There is truly a generous heart and spirit throughout our Wing and your selflessness never ceases to amaze me. And, while the words are simple and few, the sentiment is heartfelt and sincere - thank you for all you have done and will continue to do every day.