August Comamander's Corner
By Col. Keith Miller, 169th Operations Group
/ Published August 10, 2015
MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. -- The 169th Operations Group executes what are sometimes the most visible parts of the Swamp Fox mission. Our folks run the airfield, control the air traffic, manage and track training, identify targets, plan missions, and fly the jets. Along the way, we're always asking for help. Security Forces keep our people and jets safe whether at home or deployed. The Civil Engineer Squadron obviously maintains our facilities, which we usually don't notice until the air-conditioning breaks or we lose power. The Logistics Readiness Squadron gets us where we need to go with what we need to operate the mission. Finance makes sure we get paid despite the pain of using DTS and AROWS. The Force Support Squadron helps with all sorts of personnel issues. The Medical Group makes sure we can see, hear and aren't afraid of needles. We all know what the Maintenance Group does for us after listening during the change of command last drill. My point is that it is a gigantic effort to get us to the point where pilots employ ordnance. Every Swamp Fox has an impact on the efficiency and quality of destruction we are capable of raining down upon the enemy. I want to personally thank each of you for your contribution to that effort, although the bad guys may not think that!
While I was sweating at the 169th Maintenance Group Change of Command ceremony, I was reminded about how many leadership changes we've had in the SCANG in the last 14 months or so. The wing and all four groups have gotten new commanders. I can think of six new chiefs off the cuff - Carl Christie, Wayne Peelman, Lanny Cobb, Lee Shepherd, JD Rider, and Mark Drafts. Sorry if I missed someone. Many of those changes are due to retirements. Fortunately, we have a deep bench. They have been working hard to further the mission and the organization while preparing for that next step.
This is the time I make the push for you to knock out Professional Military Education, Community College of the Air Force degrees, Correspondence Development Courses, and whatever other acronym applies. You won't be selected because you have done all of this stuff. That decision is based on opportunities, job knowledge and performance and potential to perform the next duty. However, not having PME and higher education completed will definitely keep you from being selected. Please do the work to be ready for the next job while doing your best at your current job and seeking chances to do more. Sometimes good deeds go unseen but on the balance, people notice and appreciate your efforts.
We're getting close to the next fiscal year which means something different every time these days. This time it's the Agile Combat Support (ACS) deployments. 147 Swamp Fox are going to be unleashed at nine different locations around the globe for six months at a time. Since Curacao got cancelled, the most scenic spot is Germany but most folks are going to sandy locations. Some, like the 169th Security Force Squadron, are deploying as a group and have done so before, but others haven't deployed for a long period of time and/or may not have much mutual support. If you aren't going on one of those deployments, please help those out who are. For those who are, don't hesitate to let us know if you need help getting ready to go or with any issue at home once you've left.
Recently I was volun-told to speak to the McEntire Retirees group at their monthly luncheon. It was great to meet with some of the men and women who made Swamp Fox history and established our reputation. There are definitely some storytellers in that bunch! They share a concern for, and a bond with, their McEntire family and are completely up-to-date with what we're doing. Funny how some things we deal with haven't changed. On a sad note, they were as shocked as we were to hear of Tech. Sgt. Tiffany Mellott's sudden passing and grieve for her husband and three children as we do. They generously donated all of the proceeds of their raffle this month to the Tiffany Mellott Fund that Chief Lanny Cobb set up at the Credit Union. I'm proud to be associated with the likes of them and you.