MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. --
We have all been in the Air Force long enough to see a few struggles. It seems like a life time ago, I was boarding my first airplane and headed for basic training. That was back in 1986! I had never been on a plane and at the airport I quickly became friends with a group of nuns that were flying on my same flight. I took comfort that things would go well with our travel because of their boss watching over all of us. I made it to San Antonio, Texas.
After basic training and technical school was complete, I was assigned to the 363rd Fighter Wing at Shaw AFB, S.C. As we all started our Air Force careers, we had no idea what to expect out of our new lives. Painting, cutting grass, picking up trash and getting chastised did not seem a very good use of my superior intellect and career talents. As we stumbled and grumbled through the work details, a very important lesson was being instilled in each of us. That was perseverance.
Since these details did not “Kill” us, we could look back and had gained our first frame of reference for being able to overcome a little career adversity. Some of us could translate these small victories into a successful Air Force career. Our main objective here at McEntire JNGB is to deploy to any location in the world and take the fight to any enemy of the United States. As a Swamp Fox, I have deployed and seen many parts of the world. The hours have been long, at times. The climates have been challenging and uncomfortable. I have missed some family milestones and holidays. However, I know the Air Force way of life is that important to a great many of us. The sacrifices made are well worth the reward that we have gained from our successful missions. Whether local sorties, extensive TDYs or major war-time deployments, our jobs are important. The results have mattered.
As I look back on my career, I am amazed that I have had the distinct honor to serve with the greatest group of individuals. We are from all backgrounds and walks of life, yet we have a single desire to make the Swamp Fox family the very best that it can be. It would appear that the shared experiences of painting, cutting grass, picking up trash and getting chastised have made us realize that we all started our careers in the same manner. Since we are still defending our nation, those small and trying moments were an important aspect of our careers.
Remember, we completed the little things and learned that we could be successful. Perseverance was and is still a cornerstone in everything that we attempt. We can complete any assigned tasks. As a unit, we can make it through the tough times. We have done it many times over. It is an important responsibility to care for our peers and our subordinates as we move on to the next mission. I want to thank each and every one of you for your service and dedication to the Air Force and our nation.