I have the greatest job in the Air Force. I have the privilege of working with innovative and professional Airmen who amaze me every day.
As we all know, 2013 was a fiscally challenging year for the Air Force. Regardless of the financial uncertainty, 86th Airlift Wing Airmen persevered by finding ground-breaking ways to reduce costs, accomplish the mission and prepare Ramstein for the future.
In 2013, we provided personnel and support to operations around the globe; said goodbye to familiar faces and hello to new ones; ensured service members arrived on time to support contingency operations and made sure when they were done that they came home to their loved ones; honorably returned our fallen heroes to their families and ensured they were laid to rest. The list goes on, but the point is, our team continually strived for excellence that was beyond reproach.
When I took command in June, I made my expectations clear: Commanders, Chiefs, First Sergeants and Supervisors, lead and mentor your Airmen while ensuring we have a culture firmly seated on a foundation of respect.
Since then, the desire of our members to achieve excellence has met and exceeded my expectations. For that, I thank you and your families.
Though we had an excellent year and triumphed through adversity, there are still many challenges yet to come.
The ones probably weighing heavily on everyone’s mind now are the upcoming force management initiatives designed to reduce our force by approximately 25,000 Airmen.
These initiatives have sparked a trying time for Airmen throughout the Air Force, and Ramstein is no exception. There is no doubt our Airmen are thinking about their future and worried about whether they will continue to serve or be selected for separation.
Everyone’s answer is going to be a little different, but the one thing I ask of everyone here is to take this as an opportunity to reflect on yourself as an Airman. If there are areas with room for improvement, improve them. Bottom line, there is always room in our Air Force for great Airmen, so if you give it your all you can hold your head high regardless of the outcome knowing you put your best foot forward.
As we begin the new year, we know the challenges before us, and there may be new challenges ahead. I know if we continue to seek innovation, set the standard in professionalism, and always strive for excellence, 2014 will be a great year for us all.
I hope everyone had a happy and safe holiday, and now let’s focus on making 2014 a great year.