HomeNewsCommentariesDisplay

October Commander's Corner

Portrait of U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Richard Smith, commander of the South Carolina Air National Guard's 169th Civil Engineer Squadron at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., November 1, 2019. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Edward Snyder, 169th Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

Portrait of U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Richard Smith, commander of the South Carolina Air National Guard's 169th Civil Engineer Squadron at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., November 1, 2019. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Edward Snyder, 169th Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. --

Is there any doubt that the Airmen of the SCANG are the best and the brightest in the Air Force?  As I look out at the formations and talk with Airmen, NCOs and officers from multiple squadrons, across the full spectrum of backgrounds, I am in awe of the talent and effort that each and every one of you bring to the organization. I think that we can all agree that the SCANG is a special organization unlike any other in the Air Force. But have you ever thought about why this is the case, what makes the SCANG different? 

The SCANG is not nor should it be defined by the equipment in our arsenal. It cannot be defined by number of missions under our belts or the AORs we have defended. The SCANG is different because our people our different, our Airmen are different. We have Airmen of all ranks that genuinely care for one another and the communities we serve.  Our Airmen go above and beyond the call of duty, helping one another to be successful.  SCANG Airmen are also not afraid of a challenge and will work tirelessly to overcome the odds. This is true whether working at McEntire in (or often out of) their AFSC, at their civilian job or at home with family and friends. When faced with a hurdle, SCANG Airmen know that it is ok to fall and it is ok to struggle with a task. What sets our Airmen apart from the rest is that they continue to get up, dust themselves off and push forward.  They are not afraid of the struggle; they embrace it because it makes them better. 

As I look back on all the impacts that our Airmen have had and the lives that have been touched, I am reminded of the strength of character that is on display. The last six months have been more challenging than anyone would have predicted. It would be easy to succumb to the critics, to give in to the struggles and challenges that are in the fore front of our daily lives. Not our Airmen.  Over this period our Airmen deployed both around the world and around the state. They have reached out to neighbors, friends and strangers with a helping hand and a calming voice, helping them to get up and dust themselves off after they have fallen. The courage and discipline that has been displayed over the past six months is a testament to the character of the Airmen. 

Airmen of the 169th Fighter Wing cast aside the critics of the day choosing instead to help and support each other to be the best community that we can be. We have trailblazers in our ranks that cannot and will not be deterred. Our Airmen are daring. I am reminded of a quote from Theodore Roosevelt that sums up the Airmen of the 169th FW. He said “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

So back to the original question, what makes the SCANG different?  It is the Airmen of the 169th FW, choosing daily to remain in the arena. Thank you for all that you do.

Semper Primus