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Warren moving forward, remembers past

  • Published
  • By Col. Greg Tims
  • 90th Missile Wing commander
We had an opportunity to take out Maj. Gen. Luke Reiner, Wyoming Adjutant General; Chief Master Sgt. Ralph Hensala, Wyoming state command chief; and Command Sgt. Maj. Tom Allen, Wyoming state command sergeant major, to pre-departure and a tour of missile alert facility Oscar-01. Lieutenant Col. Mark Schuler, 321st Missile Squadron commander, was the point of contact and he and his team provided a superb tour. I always enjoy showcasing our mission and Airmen. We flew out under the steady hands of Capt. Javier Lasura, 1st Lt. Percival Mitchell, and Staff Sgt. Abeaner Bartlett, all from the 37th Helicopter Squadron. We were greeted at the gate by Tech. Sgt. Robert Underwood, 321st MS. Once inside, Staff Sgt. Joshua Wilson, 90th Missile Security Forces Squadron, checked identification cards and we were provided superb post briefs by Airman 1st Class Michael Carter and Airman 1st Class John Johnson, both 90th MSFS. I always enjoy eating at the missile alert facilities and this time was no exception. We had an outstanding lunch provided by Staff Sgt. Samuel Brown and Staff Sgt. Grant Rodgers, both 321st MS. The on-duty crew, 1st Lt. John Adams and 1st Lt. Joshua Winters, both 90th Operations Group, gave an outstanding tour downstairs. I really enjoyed interacting with the Wyoming Guard. Together we make a truly formidable force!

Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Smith, Air Force Global Strike Command Director of Plans and Programs, and Brig. Gen. Tim Ray, AFGSC Director of Operations, came to tour training facilityUniform-01 and then spent the remainder of their time at Camp Guernsey, Wyo. to watch helicopter and security force integration. Col. Rob Vercher, 90th OG commander, and Col. Steve Miller, 90th Security Forces Group commander, and their teams ensured the generals had a chance to see the close-knit integration of these forces. Major Jeff Rowsey and Dave Lycan, 90th Ground Combat Training Squadron, run a no-nonsense, first-class regional training center. Like the training demands placed on those in the missile field, this training requires meticulous preparation, and the rigor and standards needed to compete the various courses offered is tough and intense. Properly integrating helos and security forces demands discipline and much practice. It was great to see the young men and women perform to such a high level through the visit. HUA!

I know I'm starting to sound like a broken record, but we won another AFGSC award. Master Sgt. Jaime Kelly, 90th Missile Wing operations security, won the Air Force Information Operations Award Program for the senior NCO level II category. Pretty cool Jaime -- thanks for all you do for the wing.

The 319th Missile Squadron code change went really well last week. The wing got in its groove early and it looked really smooth. However, let's not fool ourselves. It takes an enormous amount of preparation time, coordination between the groups, and total leadership engagement to pull a code change off as smoothly as we did. There are 1,000 moving parts daily that could go wrong -- and didn't! I'm convinced this wasn't by luck -- it was leadership -- engaged leadership at all levels.

Last week we held our Holocaust remembrance luncheon. Events such as this are a sobering reminder that evil indeed still walks this earth. It is our job to have the character and toughness to confront it when we see it. I'd like to share a quick story with you related to this topic. I was attending the National War College in 2003 and told myself I wanted to take a few electives outside my comfort zone. So, I took a genocide course. A very well taught course, but also very disturbing. I then took a course called "Psychology of a Dictator." At our first meeting, my instructor started to introduce the course and wrote names of various dictators and placed them in a hat. Names such as Mao or Pol Pot just to name a few. When it came time for me to reach into the hat, I pulled out Hitler. He immediately told me to go get the book "Mein Kampf," read it, and report back to the class. My first initial reaction was, "You have got to be kidding me!" I had no desire to read this book. After a week went by wrestling with this dilemma, I reminded myself I had taken these classes to get me out of my comfort zone. However, I had not counted on moving this far away from the mother ship! When I finally walked into the book store, I was thinking to myself that I will be on every government watch list after purchasing "Mein Kampf." I even felt awkward when paying for it and found myself explaining to the cashier why I had bought it and the purpose for which I intended to use it.

So, I didn't just skim it, I read it carefully. And while I read it, I kept the famous Sun Tsu quote at the forefront of my mind "Know the enemy and know yourself; in a hundred battles you will never be in peril." It was amazing to realize that Hitler wrote his book in 1924 while in prison, and 15 years later he executed his plan by attacking Poland in 1939. Equally disturbing was after my presentation to the class, our instructor told us that this was the most sought after book on the other side of the globe -- remember, I took this class in 2003. It helped to put clarity to several things that day. Clarity in that there was a reason I pulled nuclear alert duty down in the hole for the first three years of my Air Force career. Clarity that sometimes sacrificing for others ensures a safer and more secure world.

Luncheons such as this one help remind us why we do what we do here in the Mighty Ninety, and why evil must be confronted and defeated when we see it. I really appreciate Rabbi Harley Karz-Wagman's personal thoughts and comments and what an honor to have lunch with Zollie Gancz and Helen Zigmond -- two holocaust survivors. Talk about character and toughness! I'd also like to publicly thank Tech. Sgt. Christopher Hughes, 90th Medical Operations Squadron, our emcee, Staff Sgt. Ashton Hayslip, 90th MW Judge Advocate Office, the Equal Opportunity Office, the Fall Hall Community Center staff, our audio-visual crew, and protocol. You all allowed us to take a very tough subject and provide a forum for us to show our respect and reflect on those who lived and died from this historic event.

Go Forth and Conquer!