Commentary Search

Warren Airmen shine during holiday season

  • Published
  • By Col. Greg Tims
  • 90th Missile Wing commander
I hope everyone had a good holiday and got to spend some down time with family and friends. I got a chance to strap a board onto my feet and found a bunch of fresh powder! I'm looking forward to more of that! Additionally, I think I'm still thawing out from that chilly New Year's weekend!

What a fabulous visit we had with The Honorable Michael Donley, Secretary of the Air Force. But, what else would you expect from Vicki Liles, 90th Missile Wing protocol, and her team, as well as Lt. Col. Dave Martinson, 319th Missile Squadron commander, as the point of contact. Secretary Donley is very in-tune with the happenings within Air Force Global Strike Command, as well as this base. I just can't tell you what pleasure it was to have our Airmen standing tall in front of him briefing him about their jobs and answering all his questions.

After a quick mission brief, we headed for the 90th Maintenance Group Electronics Laboratory with Secretary Donley and Maj. Gen. C. Donald Alston, 20th Air Force commander. As usual, Col. Don Adams, 90th Maintenance Group commander, and his folks did a superb job walking him the through the intricacies of this shop and really getting into the technical side of the job. We then boarded a helo and headed out to Missile Alert Facility Alpha-01. Our security forces Airmen included Master Sgt. James Sandusky, Tech. Sgt. Chris Gilmore, Staff Sgt Tyrone Barney and Airman 1st Class Alex Hernandez, all from the 90th Missile Security Forces Squadron, and Airman 1st Class William Peterson, 790th Missile Security Forces Squadron. What a super team to represent the defenders. The missile combat crew commander downstairs was 1st Lt. John Adams, 90th Operations Support Squadron, the deputy was 1st Lt. Andrea Patrick, 319th MS, the facility manager on duty was Tech. Sgt Wesley Sanderson, 319th MS, and the chef was Airman 1st Class Elizabeth Touhey, 319th MS -- a very professional team of warriors. I could tell Secretary Donley enjoyed interacting with all of the Mighty Ninety members.

To help ensure the day went without a hitch I just can't say enough about Lt. Col. Scott Mackenzie, 37th Helicopter Squadron commander, and his squadron. Between our pilots consisting of Maj. Dona Harris, Capt. Kevin Storm, Capt. James Berninghausen, Capt. Robert Konowicz, 1st Lt. Eric Riethman and 1st Lt. Jonathan Gentri; and our flight engineers Senior Airman Marke St. Hill and Staff Sgt. Robert Smeaton, they ensured all possible contingencies were accounted for and plans to mitigate them were solid.

Then to wrap it up, I was driving General Alston back from seeing the Secretary off at the airport when we came on base through Gate 5. Airman 1st Class Timothy Williams, 90th Security Forces Squadron, provided General Alston with a superior post brief, and General Alston got out of the car and coined him. This was only Timothy's second time on gate duty. Wow -- what a super star!

This past Monday I had the opportunity to attend Wyoming's 2011 Gubernatorial Inaugaration. What a beautiful ceremony. We here at the Mighty Ninety would like to extend a warm welcome to Governor Matt Mead and his family. And a special thanks to our Airmen, who aided in the ceremony, Capt. Michael L. Warren, Staff Sgt. Tara Horvat, Senior Airman Cory Cruise, Senior Airman Christian Cabague, Senior Airman Martha Wells, Airman 1st Class Timothy Wells, Airman 1st Class Mongchi Xiong and Airman 1st Class Monica Adorno, all with the 90th SFS, and Senior Airman Amanda Giddins, 90th Security Support Squadron.

A very special event occurred in December that I didn't want to pass without recognizint. Our last Airman moved out of the 800-series dorms. Dorm 236 is now complete. What does all this mean? It means all of our on-base Airmen are in one of the ten dorms facing Randall Avenue. Four of the dorms are in the "Dorms-for-Airman" configuration or in a 1 + 1 configuration. Bottom line, the 800-series dorms will no longer be used -- they are old and are not located conveniently for our airmen to walk to the fitness center or dining facility. My hats off to Lt. Col. Chuck Roberts, 90th Civil Engineer commander, and his team for making this vision become a reality -- and two months ahead of schedule!

I had lunch last week with Capt. Tom McGillicuddy, 790th MSFS, and his convoy team. I also had a chance to eat with Senior Airman Jim Wilker, 790th MSFS. What a first class group of warriors. They have a tremendous amount of responsibility on their shoulders every time they execute their duties. It was a pleasure to be around these highly trained, highly capable Airmen. What a great lunch!

Christmas morning I took my oldest son Brian with me to watch our Airmen in action. We first sat in on pre-mission planning in the 320th Missile Squadron. Lt. Col. Heidi Paulson, 320th Missile Squadron, and I took the brief. First Lt. Dustin Petrash, 320th MS, provided a superb briefing. Not to be out done, Capt. Matt Vandershuere, 320th MS, did a bang up job with the pre-departure briefing. We stopped by the front gate where all was in good hands with Airman Mike Dimonda, Airman 1st Class George Sanchez, and Airman 1st Class Jeremy Coley, all with the 90th SFS. Finally, we stopped in on the armory and guard mount. The armory was manned by Senior Airman Camden Ege and Airman 1st Class Ryan Cox, both with the 90th Security Support Squadron. Guard mount was expertly led by Master Sgt. John Bedwell, 90th MSFS.

In all of these venues, no truer two stanzas of the Airman's Creed stood out in my mind than these, "I am an American Airman...I have answered my nation's call." The epitome of this was highly capable and dedicated airmen right in front of me. Our ICBM legacy runs rich and deep here at F. E. Warren -- since 1963 to be exact. But, another legacy we must never forget that runs deeper is the fact that our base (then it was a Fort) was built in 1867 to protect the railroad. Back then, Calvary soldiers were trained to run toward danger not from it. Today, we execute this legacy with honor. Whether it is Christmas Day or New Years, it doesn't matter. The mission of nuclear deterrence never sleeps or rests. It was indeed an honor to be able to shake hands with these warriors who were pulling duty on Christmas day. Afraid of nothing -- very capable and very proficient at their respective jobs.

Like I said in my last edition of 2010, the wing had a fantastic performance last year and I am expecting this year to be even better!

Go Forth and Conquer!