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Mission success in 2012: Halfway there

442nd Fighter Wing Commander's Commentary

442nd Fighter Wing Commander's Commentary

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- Well team, we're halfway through 2012, and the 442nd Fighter Wing has already excelled in mission accomplishment from combat operations to safely bringing our people back home.

Supporting Deployments is the wing's top priority for 2012, and that includes our combat deployments as well as the deployments for training that are happening this summer. Many of you will deploy to Hawaii, England or Alaska to practice wartime skills and increase mission readiness. You're also going out and seeing the world - one of the benefits of being in the greatest Air Force in the world!

Our priority to Prepare for Force Structure Changes has been complicated by recent congressional action that may change the Air Force plan to close the 917th Fighter Group, a geographically separated unit of the 442nd FW, located at Barksdale AFB, La. I don't know when, or even if, the 917th FG will actually close down, but regardless of what happens, we will continue to prioritize support for the 917th FG personnel and families through this period of transition.

In the process of completing DFTs, DTF and DTS (yeah...it's confusing to me too), we're also pursuing our priority to Stand Up an Active-Association. Active-duty personnel have already begun to arrive at the 442nd FW, and the commander will be in place by the end of July. Active associations are the key to our long-term survival as a unit-equipped fighter wing, and we welcome the support our active-duty partners will provide in our mission to Train and Deploy Ready Reservists.

For those of you at Whiteman, set your eyes on our priority to complete Successful Inspections. Our combined unit inspection, or CUI, is coming up in October, and it will require focusing on the less-than-exciting, but more-than-valuable, self-inspection checklists that are going to pull us through this inspection. Many of our medics, administrators, safety specialists, pilots, maintainers and support personnel are working diligently to make sure every detail of their programs are perfected for the compliance inspection, health-services inspection, safety program evaluation, aircrew standardization and evaluation visit and logistics compliance assessment program.

In the process of preparing for these inspections, our first sergeants and supervisors are working with members to make sure family care plans are up to date, part of our priority to Develop and Care for Airmen & Families. You may remember this priority from last year. You can be sure that it will be a priority every year, because healthy, happy Airmen and family members translate directly into mission success today and in the future. Our chaplains, Airmen and Family Readiness office, and the Human Resources Development Council are working hard to help you and your families with the challenges that come with our busy operations tempo. Yellow Ribbon events are a great place to re-energize family connections for those of you who deployed for 90 days or more, so I encourage you to take advantage of the upcoming events in Orlando, Fla., or Dallas.

We've accomplished so much in only six months, and I can't wait to see what the next six months hold. Before you know it, I'm certain we'll be celebrating a victory on the combined unit inspection and preparing for the holidays. In the meantime, please take some time to enjoy the rest of the summer with your friends and families. Thanks for all that you do - it's an honor to be the commander of such a hard-working and dedicated unit.