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Looking back on a great command, wing

  • Published
  • By Col. Greg Tims
  • 90th Missile Wing commander
A couple of months ago I wrote a little nugget on the book, "The Servant," which was written by James Hunter. I'd like to share one last thought on the book. Hunter writes, "Leadership is not about personality, possessions, or charisma, but all about who you are as a person. I used to believe that leadership was about style, but now I know that leadership is about substance, namely character." I really like that quote. Of course I would add that you also need toughness to act upon your conviction. You need the guts to see a project through or confront those who are not in line with the goals and mission of a unit. I hope indeed that these two principles live on here at F. E. Warren long after most of us are gone.

This will be my last article. I have so much to say, yet struggle to find the right words. I have always been a straight shooter and never could hide my true intentions. That is why I don't play poker!

So let me just begin, first, I'd like to thank the Lord for keeping his hand safely upon myself and my family. I thank Him for providing me the ability to lead this wonderful wing.
Second, I'd like to thank my wife, Julie. What a beautiful lady she is. She bleeds Air Force Blue just as much as anyone who wears the uniform. Her heart has always been with our Airmen and their spouses. I always admired her tireless dedication to greeting new families and spouses throughout our AF journey. She has always desired families to embrace the Air Force way of life -- to be Air Force families, not just families in the Air Force.

To my sons Brian and Kevin, you have indeed made home life fun. Endless games of whiffle ball on the gazebo lawn, Saturday morning basketball, air soft, paintball, endless requests for grounders, as well as baseball and football catch. Your positive impact on the schools you attended and the sports teams you have played on is immeasurable. While moving you eight times in 11 years, you have shown me the true meaning of character and toughness and how to anticipate our next adventure at every assignment.
I look back fondly on my past two years. Folks ask me, "Would you have done anything different?" "Nope," is my reply. We set a course for this wing and we stuck with it. We prepared to fight anytime, anywhere. We provided preeminent combat capability across the spectrum of conflict. We took on evil within our borders and overseas. Those who didn't "get it," couldn't "get it," or didn't want to "get it," were shown the front door. We rolled our sleeves up and stood side by side with one another. We faced numerous inspections (12 to be exact), difficult obstacles, harsh elements, insurmountable tasks -- and we conquered. Everything we did, we did with poise and confidence. Every obstacle we faced we became stronger, tougher, and wiser.

We kicked the heck out of the first no-notice Nuclear Surety Inspection. We won the Installation Excellence Award. We won the Blanchard Trophy, and the Williams Trophy. We have a roll-over ratio to miles driven that logistics companies would die for. We never left an Airman behind. We lived, breathed and ate the core values. We wore the Airman's Creed on our sleeves for all to see. We ran toward danger not from it. We executed our daily mission with focus and passion. We sacrificed when asked and never complained. We took pride in protecting our nation.

I was asked in my exit interview with our historian, Mike Byrd, what was my number one accomplishment. I would say OUR number one accomplishment was getting the "blue-collar" swagger back. I have never been associated with a wing with the type of confidence that we have here in the Mighty Ninety today.

What an honor to have served with the immediate leadership. The loyalty of Col. Scott Fox, 90th Missile Wing vice commander, the wisdom of Barry Kistler, 90th MW director of staff, the dedication of Chief Master Sgt. Marty Anderson, 90th MW command chief, the passion of Col. Sean Boyle, 90th Mission Support Group commander, the levelheadedness of Col. Steve Miller, 90th Security Forces Group commander, the team player focus of Col. Fran Vasta-Falldorf, 90th Medical Group commander, the confidence of Col. Don Adams, 90th Maintenance Group commander, and the drive for the pursuit of perfection of Col. Rob Vercher, 90th Operations Group commander.

I was fortunate to be surrounded by the best group of chiefs, and retired chiefs a commander could ever want. This is the finest senior enlisted team I have ever had the pleasure to serve with. You simply rocked the house every day. Your loyalty to me and our Airmen was immeasurable. Additionally, you got the results we needed during what I have said many times was the toughest inspection era seen in more than a quarter of a century. There was not a problem you couldn't solve. Then pile on the current crop of First Sergeants, and "wow" comes to mind.

Our squadron commanders did a superb job and now many will move on and be the next senior leaders to command the various group and wing positions. I see a bright future as you progress along your Air Force careers.

To the Air Force's best staff starting with my wing secretary, Nila Connors, and my exec, Capt. Jim Gutierrez, and continuing through the 16 agencies that comprise this team. You have all been the most dedicated group of people I have had the pleasure to work with. In our daily lives together you became our family. Our Protocol staff is simply the best -- they make the rest of us look good and they keep our pomp and Air Force traditions alive. A special thanks to my neighbor and mission partner Maj. Jerrod Duggan, 15th Munitions Squadron commander -- I will indeed miss our chats on the porch!

To our young officers -- what a hard-charging and focused group. To the NCOs, you were simply the best hardnosed, most professional, blue-collar team a commander could ever hope for. Our young enlisted airmen know how to execute the daily excellence that I so admire. To our civilians, you are simply the finest group assembled that I have seen in my 25 years. Finally, to our contractors and volunteers -- I appreciate everything you do to help separate us from the pack. All of you: officers, NCOs, airmen, civilians, contractors, and volunteers -- you put the "Mighty" in Mighty Ninety.

What an honor to be associated with the fine city of Cheyenne. My hat is off to Governor Matt Mead, Mayor Rick Kaysen and all the wonderful state and local leaders. It was indeed an honor and privilege to be "Your Base." Special thanks to Dale Steenbergen and the Chamber, it was a pleasure to work with you. Best Air Force Association Chapter I have seen in 25 years -- Irene Johnigan, you and your team rock! To my Honorary Commanders past and present, Max Carre, Tom Ellsberry, and Scott Meier I thank you for your continued commitment to our base and wish you only the best. And to AF Global Strike Command DVs, the Honorable Pete Illoway and Kevin Paintner, what a privilege to have gotten to know you both and thank you also for your commitment to our Air Force.
Thank you to Maj. Gen. Luke Reiner, Col. Denny Grunsted and Col. Steve Radar; the Guard is in good hands with you all at the helm.

To our retirees, you had left us a legacy of excellence that I was determined to keep. I hope in your eyes we met that goal.

While many of you know that I am just as comfortable in uniform as a I am sitting on a bucket calling the next fastball, curve, or slider, I want to thank Coach Derek Weekly of the Cheyenne Junior League 12 year old all stars for allowing me to be a part of his first-rate coaching team to include D.J. Weekly, Bill McInerney, Jason Nyberg, and Brian Tims. I will indeed cherish the time we spent together mentoring our players who too will be future husbands, fathers, and leaders in their communities.

I now hang up my uniform for the last time, but will smile as I remember we not only built a formidable team, but the best team I have ever been associated with in my 25-plus years of military service. May God bless you and your families.

And, for the last time -- GO FORTH AND CONQUER!