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Getting the job done — against all odds

  • Published
  • By Col. Greg Tims
  • 90th Missile Wing commander
I have to say the weather last week was just a tad cold. I have spent 10 of my 25 winters at bases north of here and the weather brought back memories where the thermometer would not get above zero for long stretches of time. Isn't it amazing the sounds that can come from your car engine when you just started it up after it has been sitting out all night in 25 degrees below zero temperatures? I can relate, as I don't work as well under those types of conditions either. The good news here though is we only had a couple of days of this, and then it was back up in the thirties.

Many of our Airmen and their families have never been in extreme weather like we experienced. Please be sure to be a good wingman and help those out who may be struggling. If you see someone ready to go outside in extreme weather with bare skin exposed, pull them back in and remind them it only takes a few minutes of bare skin exposure to cause serious injuries.

I have to take a moment and brag about Lynn Clouse. She was the 90th Missile Wing's nominee for the Joan Orr Spouse of the Year Award, and we were notified last week that she won at the 20th Air Force level. Now she'll compete at the Air Force Global Strike Command level. I am most grateful to our spouses who volunteer with a caring heart. Along with her phenomenal work in the Thrift Shop, she was very engaged with tending to the needs of others in her squadron, a true go-getter attitude for after school activities, a key participant in the base-wide cookie drive, helped with the Warren Spouses Club basket auction fund raiser, served meals on wheels, and the list goes on and on. Well done Lynn -- thank you for all you do!

Last week, Chief Master Sgt. Marty Anderson, 90th Missile Wing Command Chief, and I went to inspect the dorms and select the dorm of the quarter. It is with great pleasure that we coined Staff Sgt. Login Flynn, 90th Civil Engineer Squadron, the 228 dorm manager, Airmen 1st Class Kristen Towns and Timothy Jesse, both from the 90th Medical Operations Squadron, and Airman 1st Class Chase Ritter, 90th CES, all representing the dorm council. The rooms that pushed them over the edge to win this award for the second straight quarter was the quad room (our quad rooms share a common purpose room) composed of Airmen Towns, Airman 1st Class Monica West and Airman 1st Class Amanda Patterson, both from the 90th Comptroller Squadron, and Airman Rachel Martel, 30th Airlift Squadron. This was simply the best quad billeting room I have seen in my 25 years! Overall, Dorm 228 is comprised of the Missile Wing staff, Comptroller Squadron, Medical Group, and 30th Airlift Squadron Airmen. Thank you for setting the example in keeping your dorm in tip-top shape!

Also last week, the Security Forces Group met their long-time goal of achieving an incredible 80 percent present for duty rate. To put this in perspective, similar units typically hover around 70 percent or lower. I have never seen a rate this high in my 25 years, and it comes after months of tough work on the part of the Airmen, NCOs, senior NCOs and officers in the SFG. But they didn't do it all by themselves, the medical group and in particular, the PRP office worked diligently to reduce the time to medically clear our defenders. This great achievement increases training and temporary duty opportunities, reduces "standby" hours and allows for our Airmen to take their well deserved leave. My hats off to the SFG and MDG teams, this is indeed a phenomenal feat!

I snuck out the back door this past Thursday to see our folks in action. With the cold spell we had, I wanted to pop into the kennels see how our military working dogs were holding up. I ran into Staff Sgt. Derek Copeland, 90th Security Forces Squadron, and was pleased to see everything in working order. Our MWDs play a key role in our mission.

The next stop I met Mikeal Barge, 90th Force Support Squadron, at the base pool. Mikeal is one of the six life guards who ensure our pool is operated in a safe manner. He told me many of our units are using the pool in the afternoon as their aerobic activity. What a great alternative to pounding the pavement. The pool looked in great shape, and I encourage units to keep up their intensity on unit fitness.

Finally, Julie and I stopped in and had lunch with eight of our new spouses at the dining facility. Ron Navarra, 90th FSS, runs a great spouse-orientation program. I always enjoy meeting with the new spouses to help dispel any rumors they might have heard, and ensure they understand the great things happening on this base, the programs available to them as well as the wonderful things available downtown.

We held the African American History celebration at Fall Hall last Friday. I would like to personally thank Mayor Rick Kaysen for attending. Captain Tom McGillicuddy (AkA Mac), 790th Missile Security Forces Squadron, and Airman 1st Class Shaunta Smith, 790th Missile Security Forces Squadron, were the points of contact for the event. Mitchell's Bar-B-Q provided the tasty meal. Mac provided a heartfelt story of Lt. Vernon J. Baker's heroic actions during World War II. Lieutenant Baker was a Cheyenne resident and medal of honor recipient. Super job Mac and Shaunta. Lieutenant Baker would have been most pleased with your presentation -- well done!

Last Sunday at about 9:45 am near Sydney, Neb., Senior Master Sgt. Mike Russel, Master Sgt. Liegh Newstead, and Tech. Sgt. Pat Grogan, of 90th MSFS, were traveling on I-80 when they watched an 18 wheeler in front of them rollover and slid into on-coming traffic. Sergeant Grogan immediately pulled into the median while turning on overhead lights to warn others and to protect their position. Sergeant Grogan and Sergeant Russell immediately sprinted to the semi-truck followed shortly by Sergeant Newstead. Sergeant Grogan climbed atop the cab of the truck and assisted the driver who was hanging from his seatbelt in order to evacuate the cab. He lifted the driver, unlatched the seatbelt and broke out the front windshield, while Sergeant Russell assisted from the top of the cab. They also evacuated another driver who was located in the sleeper. Both drivers were bumped, bruised and dazed, but otherwise seemed alright. Pat and Mike noticed the truckers were hauling sensitive cargo and stayed with the drivers and cargo until the Nebraska Highway Patrol arrived on scene.

Also during this time Sergeant Russell coordinated with MSC and TCC about the conditions of the road (recommending it be downgraded to red) and to notify fellow F. E. Warren personnel in the missile complex. TCC's Staff Sgt. Desmond Gusimat, 90th Logistics Readiness Squadron, immediately coordinated the road chart and sent it out. We then coordinated a leadership teleconference. To add to the fog and friction of the critical situation, both alert crews and Security Forces teams had already departed the base. We decided to leave them at Sydney, Neb. so we could collect real time data and divert teams around the impacted area. Overall, I could not have asked for a more deliberate and expedited response. This is exactly why we are approaching two years without a rollover -- leadership engagement at all levels, keeping safety at the forefront of all we do.

Those of you who watched the Super Bowl Sunday saw a classic sports engagement between David and Goliath figures. The Green Bay Packers had only two players on their team who had been to a Super Bowl, compared to 25 players on the Steeler's roster. The Packers won with a blue collar, hardnosed approach. But, it certainly was not easy. What I found most fascinating as the events of the game unfolded, was that a number of the Packer's star players had to leave the game due to injuries. Additionally, a few key passes were dropped by Green Bay at crucial moments late in the game. However, coach Mike McCarthy and quarterback Aaron Rodgers didn't flinch -- no whining or yelling. The coach got back to calling plays, the quarterback got back in the huddle and both took care of business, even as the odds grew larger against them. Further more, as I understand their preparation for this game included practices that were about hard work and sweat -- no flash or fancy stuff. This reminds me of our approach here in the Mighty Ninety. I like teams that believe in getting it done the old-fashion way. Go Packers!

Go Forth and Conquer!