Commander's Holiday Message
By Col. David Meyer, 169th Fighter Wing
/ Published December 07, 2014
MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. --
Fellow Swamp Fox, as we approach the Holiday Season, I want to take the opportunity to 'Thank You' for your sacrifice in service to this state and nation. I also ask you pass on my heartfelt gratitude to each of your families for their sacrifices as you serve.
2014 has been one of the busiest years in South Carolina Air National Guard history as the Swamp Fox supported eight significant deployments and an off-site annual training week of training. With only a two month notice, the SCANG was tasked to deploy twelve aircraft and three hundred personnel to southwest Asia, a full nine months ahead of schedule in support of theater operations. In the beginning of the summer, numerous organizations (Security Forces Squadron, Comm. Flight, Air Traffic Control Squadron, Services, medical, decontamination team, etc.) deployed to Georgetown Airport supporting a hurricane exercise and a spin up for our upcoming Vigilant Guard. The next month, the Support Group hosted a week of training activities down at the Savannah Combat Readiness Training Center. The very next week, our Air Traffic Control Squadron packed up their equipment and set up operations at Boca Chica Naval Air Station near Key West for a week. Shortly after their return, our Civil Engineer Squadron deployed to northern Canada for required training. We also deployed our aviation package to the Republic of Colombia for the first time, laying the groundwork for future joint operations with the Colombian Air Force and establishing a mutual cooperation with our new state partners. Two weeks after returning from Colombia, the aviation package left for Boca Chica Naval Air Station near Key West to fly Dissimilar Air Combat Training with Navy F-18s and F-5s. Swamp Fox Airmen were then requested by the Navy to participate in the first ever integration of Air Force fighter aircraft into the Air Wing Fallon Exercise - a naval exercise that prepares a Carrier Air Wing to deploy for combat operations. To wrap up the year, the final (and ongoing) deployment to Nellis Air Force Base allows a unique training opportunity for the 157th Fighter Squadron aviators to support the Air Force Fighter Weapons School and participate in developing new tactics, techniques and procedures for the Air Force.
Did I mention 2014 was a busy year? None of these deployments would have been possible without the dedication and hard work from our professionals in Logistics Readiness, Force Support, Security Forces, Supply and Services who work behind the scenes to make sure these deployments are flawless and go off without a hitch.
2015 offers the opportunity to slow down (kind of) and focus on our readiness. AFSC-specific training and CDCs are the priority, but we must always stay on top of our medical and fitness readiness. Lastly, professional military education and Total Force Awareness Training will still keep us plenty busy. The Domestic Operations hurricane exercise called Vigilant Guard will be executed in March. A deployment to Eastern Europe during the summer and another trip to Key West in the fall are currently in the works. And then, fiscal year 15 begins and we are in our tasking window for mobilization again. We have already seen that we have some significant numbers of Swamp Fox that will be tasked to support operations across the globe.
This is the time of year to give thanks for all of our blessings and to help others who aren't as fortunate. I ask you to keep an eye on your fellow Airmen. Whenever necessary, I encourage any of us to take advantage of our amazing support system consisting of your Director of Psychological Health, Chaplain Corps, Family Services, and SARC/Victim Advocates as well as your standard Wing and Support Group services (personnel, finance, legal, equal opportunity, human resource advisor, and Inspector General).
I couldn't be more humbled or proud of all that you have accomplished this year. I don't think any other Wing in the Air Force has accomplished as much as the 169th Fighter Wing in the past year. We're a military All-Star team comprised of 800+ traditional Guardsman, 300+ technicians, 169 Active Guard and Reserves and 100+ Active Associates working together and we are the premier F-16 Wing in the U.S. Air Force.
Wishing you and your families a restful holiday season,
Merry Christmas and Semper Primus!