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Confidence is alive, well in the Mighty Ninety

  • Published
  • By Col. Greg Tims
  • 90th Missile Wing commander
The 321st Missile Squadron's code change was completed last week, finishing the last of our three annual code changes.

What a Herculean feat -- 150 sorties and 15 launch control centers updated in five weeks.

This was without a doubt the most complicated and involved code change I have ever seen. Despite the additional things needed to get done this time around, this might have been one of the smoothest code changes ever. The reason is simple ... leadership focus at all levels. Well done to all who supported and dispatched in this endeavor. Truly a team effort!

I know a lot of you have attended the Honor Flight departure and arrival in the past. It was impressive to see the members of the Mighty Ninety line up to help escort those wonderful World War II and Korean War veterans off the plane and into cheers of thanks and applause from the crowd. Col. Scott Fox, 90th Missile Wing vice commander, and dozens of Airmen from the Mighty Ninety sent them off. Julie and I attended the arrival this time, along with Col. Steve and Jill Miller, 90th Security Forces Group commander, Col. Sean Boyle, 90th Mission Support Group commander, and Chief Master Sergeant Marty Anderson, 90th Missile Wing command chief. What a special moment to welcome home this very extraordinary group of folks. No doubt they were exhausted from the trip to see "their" memorials in Washington, but our handshakes of thanks and cheers rejuvenated their jet-lagged souls.

I heard a story of a good deed the other day that I'd like to share with you. We had a guest here for a couple of days and her clutch burned out on her vehicle. Basically, she was stranded on the side of the road on base. Staff Sgt. Nick White, 90th Security Forces Squadron, stopped to provide assistance. Unfortunately, the vehicle was not roadside repairable so Sergeant White cleared the entry at the base gate and stayed with our guest until a tow truck arrived. I just can't say enough when I hear stories such as this one. Well done Nick -- we are proud of you!

Police week was another hit this year. The retreat was first-class! Master Sgt. Gary Snyder, 790th Missile Security Forces Squadron, was the point of contact and emcee. Airman 1st Class Meagan Marshal, 90th SFS, and Senior Airman Jeremy Eller McNeely, 90th MSFS, provided us with their inspirational testimonies. Senior Airmen Qunita Humphries and Steveison Ivory, 90th SFG, handled the flag detail while Jim Taylor and Terry Barbre played their bagpipes. Well done to you all!

Maj. Gen. C. Donald Alston, 20th Air Force commander, took the time to spend some time with us last week, including a whole (long!) day in the field. I sure do appreciate his leadership and guidance. He started by watching a pre-movement briefing. He observed as Col. Don Adams, 90th Maintenance Group commander, received the briefing from Staff Sgt. Michelle Hawkins, 90th Maintenance Operations Squadron. Like I have said before, Michelle runs a no-nonsense meeting. We then stopped in to see how the command post controllers were doing. Talk about a well-tuned and functioning unit! Lt. Col. Rob Patton and Master Sgt. Brian Hill's command post is the best I have seen in 25 years! The console was manned by 1st Lt. Todd Klayum and Staff Sgt. April Barbett. Let me tell you, these two are at the top of their game. This team is truly my eyes and ears on every command and control issue on this base. I speak to them at least a couple of times a day and they always have the answers. Not an easy task to say the least for a base as busy as F. E. Warren.

The next day General Alston attended a briefing in the missile maintenance section, conducted by Master Sgt. Tad Marshall, 90th Missile Maintenance Squadron. It was a pleasure to watch the "A" team; Tad briefed Tech. Sgt. Will Rogers, 90th MMXS team chief, and Senior Airmen James Drews, 90th MMXS board man, Nicholas Kolja, 90th MMXS driver/top-sider, Philip Hamack, 90th MMXS driver/top-sider, and Nathan Borchardt, 90th MMXS cageman. General Alston then watched the security forces briefing, conducted by 2nd Lt. Thomas Cousino, 790th MSFS. We expect a lot from our young officers and Thomas delivered a superb briefing. General Alston had many questions in both meetings and every one of them was professionally answered. Finally, we observed Capt. Kent Reichle, 37th Helicopter Squadron, orchestrate an intricate helicopter mission planning session.

General Alston drove out to site with Special Agents Steve Collins and Chris Szymanski. I drove out to the site with Senior Airman Kevin Waters. I just can't say enough of how fortunate we are to have such a professional, robust and an engaged Office of Special Investigations detachment. General Alston received more than 50 post briefings on site. I watched Sergeant Rogers and his team conducted several hundred technical order steps with perfection. An attempt was made by Mother Nature to throw us off our game, but despite the difficult weather, the entire team did not blink and pressed diligently through their task. Our execution from start to finish was flawless.

I just have to say that I have been doing this kind of work for 25 years and nowhere have I seen it done day in and day out like we do here at the Mighty Ninety. There is a blue-collar swagger that exudes the confidence of the members of this wing. It's an aura. It's an attitude. Books are written about it. It's hard to define ... but we know it's alive and well here at the Mighty Ninety.

Be sure to carve out time for family and friends. Have a great and safe Memorial Day weekend!

Go Forth and Conquer!