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Commander's Commentary

  • Published
  • By Colonel Peter Nezamis
  • 126th Air Refueling Wing
It's hard to believe 2016 is coming to a close and what a year it was. You all performed exceedingly well during one of the most demanding years in the history of the 126th Air Refueling Wing!

Our Wing performed so well, we received several Air Force level awards.  The 126th Air Refueling Wing received the Fuel Efficiency Award for 2016.  Through detailed mission planning and flawless execution of aircrew members with support from maintenance, we reduced unnecessary fuel consumption resulting in a positive impact to balancing our fiscal responsibilities.  In addition, the 126th Maintenance Group was recognized as the top maintenance group supporting the KC-135, achieving the highest Mission Capable Rate (MCR) across the entire tanker community for FY16 at 82% and the top Tanker Departure Reliability rate of 96.5% for FY16. To date they continue to achieve the top MCR across entire tanker community for FY17 at 94.19%.

SrA Ethan Wheeler from the Operations Group was awarded the Staff Sgt. Henry "Red" Erwin award for his actions during a combat mission.  I encourage you all to read Erwin's story and congratulate SrA Wheeler on his well-deserved recognition.  SSgt Jason Patton from the 126th Comptroller Flight received the General John P. Jumper Award for Excellence in Warfighting Integration and AF Dominance and was recognized as the Air Force Outstanding Cyber Operations Non-Commissioned Officer for his exceptional accomplishments in cyberspace operations. Keep an eye out in the next Wing Tips to read more about his accomplishments.  These are all phenomenal achievements that exemplify the dedication and passion you bring to the mission.

We started the year with a Nuclear Operational Readiness Exercise followed by the wings Nuclear Operational Readiness Inspection conducted by the HQ AMC Inspector General.  Your constant level of readiness and dedication to excellence was verified by the inspection team, ensuring the wing stands ready to execute our primary mission; global nuclear deterrence!  We also hosted several orientation flights, highlighting our capability and professionalism to our local community.  We flew religious leaders on our clergy flight, Illinois employers for the Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), employers of our Wing members as well as senior leaders from the State and SAFB community.  These flights are a major part of our community engagement mission that demonstrate the professionalism of our Airmen and to say "thank you" to those who support the Air National Guard and our Wing.

For many of you, the highlight of every year is having the opportunity to travel for annual training.  This year was no different.  The Medical Group was able to train at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, the Force Support Squadron deployed to Ramstein AB, Germany, and the Logistics Readiness Squadron deployed to Lajes Field, Portugal.  Thank you for the hard work in planning these DFTs and making them so successful.

I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge all the Chicago Cubs fans across the Wing!  We waited many years to bring the World Series Championship back to Chicago.  It's hard to believe radio and TV were nonexistent the last time the Cubs won.  Congratulations Cubs Fans!!  Hopefully, it won't be another century before we celebrate another championship!

As we find ourselves in the midst of another holiday season, take time to remember those less fortunate, our deployers and their families, and finally those we lost this past year.  Nearly a third of the Wing deployed in support of operations overseas and many will be away through the holidays. It's an enormous sacrifice for our Airmen and their families.

Finally, I'd like to thank each and every one of you for your continued service, professionalism and dedication to our Wing.   Your support is essential to the success of the Wing and global missions and I extend my deepest appreciation.  I'm proud to see our core values lived out every day, and to see your hard work recognized across the Air Force.  Have a Merry Christmas and joyful holiday season. I wish you all a successful and prosperous 2017.