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From the Wing Commander

Col Michael Hudson, Commander of the 169th Fighter Wing, McEntire JNGB, S.C., poses for his official portrait on August 29, 2011. (Photo taken while Vice Commander, as of 7 January Col. Hudson is 169th FW Commander)
(SCANG photo by TSgt Caycee Cook)

Col. Mike Hudson, Commander of the 169th Fighter Wing, McEntire JNGB, S.C., poses for his official portrait on August 29, 2011. (Photo taken while Vice Commander, as of 7 January Col. Hudson is 169th FW Commander) (SCANG photo by Tech. Sgt. Caycee Cook)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, South Carolina -- My wife Denise is a longtime fan of the SCANG News. In fact, for years, she probably got to it faster and read it more regularly and more thoroughly than I did. The same might be true in your home. Odds are the monthly newsletter has served as an important link between the wing and your family.

As our Public Affairs team transitions from to the electronic format, we need to ensure we don't lose touch with longtime fans like Denise. If you passed over the article on the front page explaining how to subscribe by e-mail, have another look. Though the new format might take some getting used to, it's intended to deliver news and information at a rate that keeps pace with today's fast-moving, web-based media. Make sure your families (and employers) stay in the loop.

Of course, in addition to moving faster and further, the electronic newsletter also is intended to save money. I don't have to tell you these are challenging economic times for the Department of Defense. With sequestration looming (or not) and serious belt tightening on the horizon regardless, we must continue to serve as responsible stewards of our resources. I'm very proud to say that frugality and conscientiousness have been key components of our financial strategy and overall culture for years. The decision to "go green" with the SCANG News should serve as an example of the caution, creativity and conservative approach that will help us navigate this increasingly complicated economic environment.

Speaking of conservation and the environment, many of you are aware we recently underwent another ESOHCAMP inspection. In a nutshell, it's a hard look at how well we're safeguarding our natural resources and how safely we're accomplishing our mission. Clearly, this is another area in which caution, creativity and a conservative approach will serve us well. Like all inspections, the ESOHCAMP helped identify areas in which we can do a better job.

This is precisely why the Inspector General always is welcome at McEntire. Their critical look at our policies, programs and practices is appreciated. It's how we refine our procedures. It's how we've earned our reputation for excellence.

Consider last month's Fighter Alert Force Evaluation. We calmly and confidently greeted the NORAD inspectors when they arrived with no notice, because we knew we had successfully implemented lessons learned during last year's preliminary FAFE and the recent AFOA. Yes, inspections at McEntire tend to be an opportunity to shine, but they're also an invaluable opportunity to learn and grow. This is a basic concept that will serve us well in the new year.

Though several wing members began prepping for next winter's combination Phase I/II ORI months ago, the entire wing re-enters the fray this drill. Based on previous inspections and observations of other wings' inspections, our own EET has built an intense and carefully phased exercise plan to ramp up for next November.

For most, combining Phase I and II probably sounds intimidating. If you've been through ORIs with us in the past, you know our preparation for and execution of each phase is exhaustingly detailed (emphasis on exhausting). Nonetheless, I have the utmost confidence in our EET and each of you to conquer this challenge in 2013.

Before we leave 2012, though, I want to congratulate you again for your historic accomplishments over the past 12 months. The list is long, but nothing is more impressive than our stand-alone, 120-day, 18-jet AEF deployment. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I am humbled by your determination, your professionalism and your sacrifices.

This time of year often is as much about looking back as it is looking forward. As you look back, you can be proud of all the SCANG has achieved in 2012 and know that you have earned the respect and admiration of your friends and family and the citizens of the great state and nation you defend. Make the most of your holidays. Enjoy the time with your loved ones and rest up. Because ... looking forward ... we'll have plenty more "opportunities to excel" in the coming months!