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July Commander's Corner

Portrait of Lt.Col. Chris Gamble, commander of the 169th Maintenance Squadron, Arpil 27, 2011.
(National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Edward Snyder/RELEASED)

Lt.Col. Chris Gamble, commander of the 169th Maintenance Squadron.

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. -- I would like to take this time and recognize the men and women of the 169th Maintenance Squadron and their accomplishments. The squadron once again demonstrated unsurpassed skill and loyalty to state and nation with an unbeatable spirit to do whatever it takes to succeed. The aggressive flying schedule alone testifies to their accomplishments. However, when considering our wing's commitment to meet the large volume of TDY's and deployments to places as diverse as Key West Naval Air Station in Florida, Posada Air Base in Colombia, Fallon NAS and Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, Long Rifle at Davis Monthan AFB in Arizona, it has become increasing apparent to me that this squadron met every challenge and opportunity with success.

The 169th MXS maintained a rigorous schedule here at home station. Their determination and drive was demonstrated during the Inspector General's evaluation of McEntire's Aerospace Control Alert mission. This mission presented a unique set of logistical and personnel challenges for the squadron. These challenges were met head-on by our 169th MXS personnel as noted in the I.G.'s report: "Perfect execution of the munitions re-supply plan," resulted in replenishment which was well within the established time standards. Ultimately, a key contributor to the continuing success of the ACA mission is the positive attitude and unparalleled technical ability of our maintainers, who are called upon time and time again for quick and specialized repairs. 

Outstanding performances were also observed at the shop level. The Air Force Repair and Enhancement Programs optimized the base's resources and repair capability of aerospace parts and equipment. During this past year, over 100 items were recovered with a significant cost savings to the base. This cost savings allowed the 169th Maintenance Group to operate with greater flexibility in the DoD's current fiscally constrained environment.

Technical foresight and knowledge displayed by the Munitions Storage Element ensured eleven "Out-Of-Cycle Requests" were met, thus securing the munitions needed for mission accomplishment. This wise procurement aided in realistic combat training for our pilots, Special Forces operators and Explosive Ordnance Disposal personnel. The Propulsion Element expertly maintained engines, producing 13 fully mission capable and four spare engines through their Jet Engine Intermediate Maintenance program. The Phase Inspection Element has taken over the additional duty of Transient Alert, meaning along with their fulltime job, they recover and launch aircraft from other bases. They have serviced 96 aircraft and worked an extra 300 hours above their regular hours. This is truly a remarkable achievement.

Demonstrating a total team effort, 169th MXS shops kept their support equipment at a FMC rate higher than 95%, which exceeded the 85% standard set by the U.S. Combat Air Forces. Numerous 169th MXS personnel assisted other bases by doing staff assistance visits and by sharing their "secrets to success," bringing these visited units' programs back into compliance.

This past year was challenging and demanding. The squadron showed professionalism and demonstrated "service before self" in everything they were challenged to accomplish. Precise and timely maintenance, regardless of operating conditions, mission tempo or location has been the norm this past year. Ever-changing expectations from the Air National Guard and Active Duty Air Force drove our 169th MXS professionals to find additional ways to positively impact mission objectives. The unit continued to persevere when budgets were minimal by thinking outside the box and effectively performing all required mission objectives with pride and distinction.

Regardless of whether it was executing a contingency deployment, participating in numerous Continental U.S. (CONUS) and Outside Continental U.S. (OCONUS) deployments, supporting continuing base missions or initiatives to save precious resources; the outstanding devotion of 169th MXS Airmen represented the 169th Fighter Wing with distinction and enormous pride.

All of these accomplishments during this past year would not have been possible if it weren't for the total team effort and dedication of the men and women from the 169th MXS. I am proud to be their commander. Semper Primus!