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December Commander's Corner

U.S. Air Force Col. David Meyer, 169th Operations Group commander at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina Air National Guard, poses for his portrait June 11, 2013. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Caycee Watson/Released)

U.S. Air Force Col. David Meyer, 169th Operations Group commander at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina Air National Guard, poses for his portrait June 11, 2013. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Caycee Watson/Released)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. -- I'd like to start by thanking each and every one of the Swamp Fox family for your dedication, commitment, sacrifice and service over this last year, and in particular, during the recent flood response. I was amazed and humbled by what I witnessed and the numerous correspondence of gratitude I received for the efforts of the Swamp Fox. "The Army of Blue T-shirts" came to the rescue in the Midlands and it is greatly appreciated.

I'd like to say a couple words about our Commander's Inspection Program (CCIP) and the efforts this wing is making toward the four Major Graded Areas (MGAs): Managing Resources, Leading People, Improving the Unit and Executing the Mission. Although this is a relatively new program, we have always made efforts to improve the Swamp Fox in each of these areas, and are dedicated to continue those efforts.

We spend a lot of time and effort trying to manage our scarce resources throughout the wing.  Last year we executed in the upper 90th percentage of our Annual Training day and civilian pay, which gave critical manpower to various wing efforts and shops. We maximized the utility of our discretionary budget to ensure organizations had the equipment they need to execute the mission.  We were able to execute over 100 percent of our flying hours, ensuring mission readiness. And through phenomenal efforts of our Civil Engineering and Contracting offices, we were able to maximize use of Sustainment, Restoration, and Modernization (SRM) resources, provided by National Guard Bureau, to execute various projects around the base.

We continue to refine our various programs to "lead people". We are improving the supervisor and commander courses. We emphasize our Career Development Plan and Aerospace Control Alert interviews and our Force Development Plans to ensure there is effective communication of where our Airmen desire to be in 5 and 10 years, mentorship toward the paths and requirements to get there and realistic expectations. We have a "Leader's Call" in December to discuss our SCANG strategic plan along with discussions of various leadership topics. We have placed emphasis on Air Force Specialty Code training and attempt to minimize outside demands on our precious training time. We try to maximize the satellite Professional Military Education opportunities along with Community College of the Air Force courses on base to ease the demands on our Airmen's time. And our "Wingman all 30" program is all about ensuring we are looking out for each other all month long, and not just asking a couple survey questions on drill weekend. Our Airmen are our most valuable resource; we need to look out for each other.

We all have a part and responsibility to continually look at ways to improve the unit.  General Welsh speaks of the innovation of our Airmen. If you have ideas, let them be known and we'll see if it is feasible to execute. We have a pretty good handle on strategic ideas that include plans to get our F-16s modernized with new radars and getting us well postured to be selected to get the F-35. We are doing a lot better job at some of our routine processes and programs. But I'm sure there are other things we can be doing to make our home better. I can't fix it if I don't know it's broken; please let me know what you're thinking.

We are one of the best at executing our mission. This year easily demonstrated that. Our recent stand-up of a new construct of a Domestic Operations Air Branch in our spring Vigilant Guard exercise was put to the test when actually using it during the recent floods and garnering the "best seen to date" accolades from FEMA and the FAA. Over 150 members of our Agile Combat Support package spun up by many organizations on base and were prepared to deploy to more than eight countries around the world. Our aviation package did a number of training TDYs to hone their warfighting skills, to include a trip to support the efforts in Eastern Europe and another to integrate with "5th generation" F-22 and F-35 aircraft. Our ongoing 24/7 ACA mission just completed yet another inspection for which they were declared "Mission Ready" and numerous aspects of the team were highlighted as "strengths" and "best practices."

I could not be more proud of all that the Swamp Fox has accomplished. We are blessed with incredible people with impressive commitment. Thank you for all that you do for this nation and state. I wish each and every one of you and your families a safe, happy and blessed holiday season. Semper Primus!