Commander thanks Airmen for service

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. James Lackey
  • 709th Airlift Squadron commander
Sometimes in the day-to-day pressures of forging the finest airlift organization in the world, the small things may slip past me. I take this opportunity to address the 512th Airlift Wing and say a simple, sincere thank you for all that you do and the sacrifices you make in order to serve in the U.S. Air Force Reserve. The United States lives in peace and security because of what you do, and the Dover Team could not deliver America's resolve without you.

I stand in humble amazement at the sacrifices our Airmen endure to keep the mission moving. Gen. Charles E. Stenner Jr., Chief of Air Force Reserve Command, has rightly called the way we serve today as "Operational Reserve." Fortunately, for us here in the 512th AW, we have been operating seamlessly with our active duty counterparts since 9/11. Operational Reserve is just a fancy way of describing how you transition seamlessly from your civilian life and career into a fully capable Airman, and then back to your civilian life. All this is done without a training cycle or an extended transition period. The only difference between us and the regular Air Force is the patches on our uniforms.

The focal point to all of this is you. As a squadron commander, I have learned that to truly lead is to serve my Airmen. My aircrews willingly go into harm's way, and I owe each and every member the world's best training, equipment and leadership. I give you my iron-clad guarantee that every commander is just as dedicated as I am to ensure you have the tools and the training you need to accomplish your mission.

Whenever I become discouraged or frustrated in my own job, I am re-energized when I remember that on any given night of the week, 709th and 326th AS aircrews are entering the combat zone to supply our deployed forces.

The results have been nothing short of spectacular. The air bridge to our fighting forces in Afghanistan and Iraq is the finest in history. Even while we are supporting a war on two fronts, we are able to pivot our effort and deliver relief aid to the devastated nation of Haiti. No nation in human history has ever been able to accomplish what we have done.

Great achievements, but they are successes that begin and end with you. Thank you for being the finest Airmen you can possibly be. Thank you for taking time away from your civilian career to join us in protecting the nation. Thank you very much for missing family events, so you can help move the airlift mission. Thank you for putting peace and security here in America above your own comfort and leisure. Most importantly, thank you to you and your family for serving with me in our turn to defend freedom in a time of war. You are doing a fantastic job. Keep up the great effort.