***image1***Taking pride in appearance has paid off for two U.S. Air Forces in Europe bases with the recent announcement that Ramstein was chosen as the command’s overall Base Appearance Competition winner in the large base category, and Royal Air Force Alconbury, England, took first place honors in the small base category.
Both bases also won top honors for their self-help programs.
Gen. Robert H. “Doc” Foglesong, USAFE commander, made the well-received announcement here June 24 during an impromptu commander’s call with the key leadership from the 435th Air Base Wing, 86th Airlift Wing and 38th Combat Support Wing; and June 25 with leadership from the 423rd Air Base Group at RAF Alconbury.
“Twenty-two months ago, Chief Coleman and I were standing in this same spot introducing ourselves and sharing our vision for some of our Combat and Special Interest Programs, one of those being Combat Proud,” said General Foglesong, during the presentation here. “We’re standing here again today to let you know that the interior and exterior of the facilities here at Ramstein look better now than they have in over 10 years, and I blame each one of you for that.”
During the RAF Alconbury presentation, the general lauded base members for their two-time win.
“I couldn’t be more pleased that I’m able to present this award to the great people of RAF Alconbury again,” said General Foglesong. “It’s obvious that everyone here, starting with Airman Foglesong and going right up the ranks, has had a hand in base and facility improvements here – the resulting appearance of this base shows the true reflection of the great men and women who work here and the pride they take in their ‘home,’” said the general.
Combat Proud, one of 15 CSIPs within USAFE, was established to foster pride and productivity through the improvement of the interior and exterior of facilities and bases throughout the command.
This is the second Base Appearance Competition since the inception of the Combat Proud program in August 2003, said Capt. Todd Rupright, USAFE Combat Proud program manager.
“The competition was conducted differently this year,” Captain Rupright said. “Instead of a formal Combat Proud team going to each base during a set timeframe, providing a formal in-brief, and then evaluating the base and its facilities, this year’s evaluations were conducted under no-notice conditions by COMUSAFE and two Headquarters USAFE staff members.
“This allowed the USAFE commander to see each base in its normal day-to-day state,” said the captain. “In essence, the no-notice evaluation showed how each base is sustaining Combat Proud.”
The evaluations entailed more than judging the general appearance of each base, said Captain Rupright.
“They also looked at how well Project Welcome Mat has been incorporated,” he said, referring to the subset of Combat Proud that focuses on the appearance and customer service aspect of the facilities new arrivals first encounter. “In addition the interior and exterior of the dormitories were looked at.”
But, the true test came after the ‘evaluators’ left the bases, said the captain.
“Part of this year’s evaluation was how the bases responded to the observations and areas noted as needing improvement,” he said.
One thing’s for sure, base leadership here and at RAF Alconbury couldn’t be more proud.
“All we have to do is look around and it’s apparent – military members living in the Kaiserslautern Military Community take great pride in base appearance and that pride has led to outstanding results,” said Col. Rob Kane, 86th AW and KMC commander here.
Col. Kurt Lohide, 435th ABW commander, and Col. Rich Weathers, 38th CSW commander, located at Sembach couldn’t agree more.
“Combat Proud is a long-term program and its effects will be felt many years down the road,” Colonel Lohide said.
“From the moment a newcomer sets foot on base, it’s apparent that we take pride in our people and facilities,” Colonel Weathers echoed. “We couldn’t be more proud of our KMC team.”
Lt. Col. Jack L. Jones, 423rd Air Base Group commander, is equally proud.
“Winning a base competition once is quite an achievement,” said Colonel Jones. “Being recognized in consecutive years is a phenomenal accomplishment, and a testament to our mission focus and dogged commitment to excellence. It’s nice to know our headquarters recognizes the hard work we’ve put into Alconbury and the entire tri-base.”
Under guidance provided by General Foglesong, funds received from placing first in the competition, will be used to support readiness, quality of life and services.