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Daily Excellence: setting standards, earning awards

  • Published
  • By Col. Greg Tims
  • 90th Missile Wing commander
We hit a milestone this past Thursday, few if any will ever match. We went two years without a rollover! Considering we drive more than nine million miles a year in some very treacherous weather conditions, makes this even sweeter. I thank each one of you for keeping safety at the forefront in all you do. I think we hit this mark because of many reasons. The meticulous route planning and risk management assessments certainly paid off. The training done by our safety office. The engaged leadership at all levels. The superb maintenance conducted on our vehicles. The detailed and accurate road conditions as tracked by the traffic control center. Simply outstanding!

I was out on site a couple of weeks ago watching the last diesel electric unit replacement. I know it was in the "double truck" of the paper last week, but I'd like to give you my perspective on this issue. This may not seem like a big deal on the surface, but believe me, this was a monumental moment for the Mighty Ninety. It was a pleasure for me to notify Lt. Gen. James Kowalski, Commander, Air Force Global Strike Command, in a meeting last week to brief him of this superior event. Let me explain. Several years ago, there were many saying the DEU installation effort could not be done unless it was outsourced. Master Sgt. Chad Hooks, 90th Missile Maintenance Squadron Facility Maintenance Section NCO in charge, refused to settle on this only option and went to work to convince others he could develop and execute a plan that would not only meet, but exceed the installation deadline. With the committed work of FMS and the MMXS Corrosion Control section, the 90th MW was the first wing to complete the DEU installs, 20 months ahead of schedule. Sergeant Hooks' leadership of this effort and his team saved the Air Force more than $1 million in outsourcing costs.

So there I was, out with 18 hard-charging and professional maintainers, watching the last of the 165 DEU installs. Tech. Sgt. Howard Walker, 90th MMXS, was the site supervisor, he was also out at the first DEU install in April of 2003. As well was Staff Sgt. James Strickland, 90th MMXS, who dispatched on over 100 of the DEU installs out in the missile field. The team chief, Staff Sgt. Markeus Lee, 90th MMXS, was in-charge and his team members were executing the installation with perfection. The team members included: Senior Airman Bert Miller, Airmen 1st Class Nicholas Kantor, Andrew Oetzel, Sean Loria and Joshua Thoe, all 90th MMXS. The crane team consisted of Senior Airman David Reynolds and Airman 1st Class Nicholas Wells, 90th MMXS. Additionally, they were being evaluated by Staff Sgt. Ricardo Castro and Staff Sgt. Andrew Stovall, 90th Maintenance Group. To watch the final install, we had MXG and MMXS leadership on site, including Lt. Col. Trevor Flint, 90th MMXS commander, 1st Lt. Franco Folino, 90th MMXS diesel electric unit replacement coordinator, 1st Lt. Chris Wood, 90th MMXS Facilities Flight commander, Chief Master Sgt. Monty Reeder, 90th MMXS Technical Advisor, and Senior Master Sgt. Mike Kadrlik, 90th MMXS Facilities Flight superintendant. With a team like that, it's no wonder we continue to set the pace for other maintenance units to follow.

I just can't say enough about this Herculean feat. Other units can only dream of this type of accomplishment, and yet we do it just like it's another day at the office. Well done to the X3's!

More good news continues to roll in on us. We won some very significant AFGSC 2010 Fire Emergency Services Awards. The Fire Prevention Program of the Year went to the 90th Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Emergency Services Flight; the Military Firefighter of the Year went to Senior Airman Jeremy Chivington, 90th CES; the Civilian Firefighter of the Year, Jessie Johnson, 90th CES; and the Civilian Fire Officer of the Year was won by Ronnie Riedel, 90th CES. We probably would have won best small fire department again, but since we won it at the Department of Defense level last year, we can't compete again until next year. Once again, well done to Lt. Col. Chuck Roberts, 90th CES, and Chief John McDougall, 90th CES Fire Chief -- another winning performance!

More good news: Tech. Sgt. Gabriel Lieber, 90th MW, was selected as AFGSC's 2010 Command Post NCO of the year. Our command post rocks -- they are on their "A" game 24-7-365! Way to go Gabe! Additionally, Maj. Gabe Harris, 90th Operations Support Squadron, and his team were named the 2010 Hollis Award for "Best Codes Flight" in 20th Air Force. When I met Gabe 21 months ago, I knew we had the best codes flight in the command. Believe me, I have seen more than 25 years of nuclear operations. Our codes flight is simply the best I have seen in 25 years. Well deserved recognition!

The winning continues, the legal office took home three TJAG award nominations at the AFGSC level, Capt. Michelle Clark, 90th MW Judge Advocate, earned Judge Advocate of the year, Tech. Sgt. Michelle Brandel, 90th MW JA, earned Young Paralegal of the year, and Bonnie Scotto, 90th MW JA, earned Legal Civilian of the Year. This accomplishment was three out of six categories. Remember, there are six wings to compete for these awards. Our legal office is simply the best. Great job to Lt. Col. Catherine Fahling, 90th MW JA, and her team!

The awards keep piling on -- let me explain. Last week, I attended the AFGSC Commander's conference, a first-class event. Thursday was indeed a good day for our wing. At the awards luncheon, we received trophies from General Kowalski on the "Best Overall Helicopter Squadron" in AFGSC and the "Samuel C. Phillips Award" for the Best Missile Squadron in AFGSC. Hats off to Col. Robert Vercher, 90th Operations Group commander, and his team. No surprise to me that Lt. Col. Scott Mackenzie, 37th Helicopter Squadron commander, and Lt. Col. Mark Schuler, 321st Missile Squadron commander, and their squadrons won these awards.

Then, the last award for the afternoon was the "Lee R. Williams Award" for the Best ICBM Wing in AFGSC -- we won that one too. And just when I thought the excitement was over, that evening we won three more awards: AFGSC Airman of the Year went to Senior Airman Toby Harter, 90th MMXS, Master Sgt. Tyler Terrel, 90th MMXS, (A.K.A. T-bone) won the AFGSC Senior NCO of the Year; and AFGSC First Sergeant of the Year was presented to Master Sgt. Stephen Hart, 90th CES.

We nominated three Airmen, and all three walked away as MAJCOM award winners and will represent AFGSC at the Air Force level.

In fact when you break it down, there were only four MAJCOM awards we could have won in the afternoon -- we won three out of four. Additionally, there were only four MAJCOM awards we could have won in the evening -- we won three out of four. Wings don't win 75 percent of the awards they compete for -- never have I seen or heard of this. Unless of course, you're the Mighty Ninety!

The focus has been from day one: daily excellence. Daily excellence is key to solid and sustained nuclear performance. Long term planning is important, but methodically conquering the next task or obstacle we encounter has really paid off. We have a tough, blue collar approach in everything we do. We are not afraid to roll up our sleeves and get dirty. We have the discipline to ensure we don't go home until all the i's are dotted and t's are crossed. As a team, there is not a problem we cannot solve. We are better today than yesterday. The momentum is building. I can't tell you how thrilled I was to watch everyone's hard work pay off and be recognized by those outside of this wing. Well done Might Ninety, well done!

Go Forth and Conquer!