***image1***With Christmas just around the corner and the new year soon to follow, there is much excitement in the air. The time of giving, sharing and celebrating is finally here, along with all the anticipation, busyness and stress. While we have much to do to get ready for our individual celebrations, we should also take a moment to review the year and consider all that we have accomplished in 2004 – our first year as a wing.
The year started with the 435th Air Base Wing re-activating at Ramstein. The wing has a rich history, dating back to 1945 as an Army unit that supported key missions during WWII, all the way to its most recent past incarnation at Rhein-Main Air Base.
Continuing from 2003, and expanding, our U.S. Air Force in Europe Combat Special Interest Programs have been working overtime to help everyone in many ways. I hear constant compliments from people praising how Ramstein, Vogelweh, Sembach and Rhein-Main have improved thanks to your massive Combat Proud’s beautification efforts. We have also hosted dozens of morale-building events with Project CHEER, family-oriented education with Project Wizard and one of the most recent additions to help us take care of each other – Combat Wingman.
Then there’s all the construction going on in the KMC that will eventually improve our quality of life as we enjoy new facilities and better roads and intersections. We recently started construction on the new KMCC and on the Ramstein Southside Fitness Center annex. New dorms are being built to improve living quarters for our Airmen. We’ve already begun to enjoy some new facilities this year. Our new Enlisted Club and Chili’s restaurant have certainly demonstrated the success of well-made and well-designed facilities. Plus, we now have the Steakhouse at the Golf Clubhouse and the just-opened Chinese restaurant at the Ramstein Community Center. In addition, we have improved our anti-terrorism and force protection situations with base-wide installation of berms, walls, bollards and all sorts of other tools to make us safer. Although all the construction traffic causes much pain and frustration at the moment, the improvement efforts will decrease much of the current congestion.
It’s been a great year – busy and full of accomplishments, challenges and change. We’ve won dozens of awards for the wing, including the U.S. Air Force LeMay Award for best large services squadron, civil engineering awards, communications awards and more. Let’s continue the spirit of excitement into the next year as we see the fruits of our labor enhance our lives here in the KMC.
Also, let us continue to keep in our hearts and prayers all of our family and friends, who are deployed, aiding in the defense of our country and helping spread democracy and peace wherever they go. They and their families are making the biggest sacrifice this holiday season by being separated in service to our country.
Enjoy the holidays; take time to be with family if you can, or to make a family within our local community if you can’t join your “regular” family. You all deserve the break and the celebration. I am most proud and humbled to be the leader of such an awe-inspiring team. I wish you the very best this Christmas and into the new year!