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Make time for family this holiday season

  • Published
  • By Col. Greg Tims
  • 90th Missile Wing commander
Be sure to carve out time with family as we now have begun the holiday season. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I did - ate too much like I always do. We do indeed have a lot to be thankful for; just look around.
What a busy, but exciting two weeks!

Major General Gratien Maire from the French Air Force and his team came to visit as did Maj. Gen. Andrew Bush, commander, Ogden Air Logistics Center, and Lt. Gen. Loren Reno, Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Installations and Mission Support. The POCs for all these visits were Maj. David Wilson, 90th Contracting Squadron commander, Maj. Alex Curtis, 90th Maintenance Operations Squadron, and Maj. Tom Vance, 90th MOS commander, they all did a superb job and all visits were flawlessly executed. Additionally, we held our Native American Heritage Month event. Job well done to our POC, 1st Lt. Kenneth Canty. Finally, many thanks to Vicki Liles, 90th Missile Wing protocol, and her staff for all the hard work and attention to detail with all these events. You made F. E. Warren shine!

I want to let you know what a fabulous week we had out at Barksdale as we competed at the first-ever Air Force Global Strike Command Global Strike Challenge competition. This event was full of many wonderful surprises. Some of our community leaders came along; a big hearty thank you to Pete Illoway, R-WY 42nd District, Kevin Paintner, AFGSC Civilian Advisory Member, and my honorary commander, Tom Elsberry, Cheyenne Military Affairs Committee chairman. The team and I were very grateful for the time and effort that Lt. Gen. Frank G. Klotz, commander, Air Force Global Strike Command, and his staff put into this competition. In fact, at one point I thought I was back in Sesto Auditorium at Vandenberg AFB Calif. It certainly stirred up good memories! I was a trainer for the 1988 team, and the memories I have of that time will stay with me for a lifetime.

Just like the men and women of F. E. Warren, everyone who attended this affair understood the importance of the nuclear deterrence mission. We started off with a commander's conference hosted by General Klotz. Sitting in the room was indeed an impressive array of missile and bomber nuclear warriors. At the first night's icebreaker, I got a chance to re-live my early missile memories and it seemed each time I turned around, I ran into someone from the old days.

The first symposium was full of entertaining speakers. The highlight was listening to Gen. (ret) John Chain, former commander in chief, Strategic Air Command, sharing his experiences and nuggets of wisdom with us.

Later that night, we held the first of two score posting events. I have to say we were the best dressed team by far! The black dusters and cowboy hats were a hit, as well as the branding irons to top it off. We entered the auditorium with the music from AC/DC, blaring "Back in Black." What a great entrance! The night proved to rival the old competition days of the 80's. In the old days, a Senior NCO would climb a ladder to post the scores. Amongst the cheering, he or she would smugly look out at the audience, sometimes reversing a number or two. Global Strike Command was able to replicate the moves and haughty expressions by the score posters. This particular event in itself was a true highlight. I'm glad our younger competitors could experience the same feelings and adrenaline rush I did back in 1988.

Before the night was over, our very own Senior Airman Brandon Coble, 90th Missile Maintenance Squadron, surprised everyone and proposed to our very own Airman 1st Class Katie Choineire, 90th MMXS. Congratulations to you both!

Not to be outdone, the next day's symposium was another superb event. Maj. Gen. C. Donald Alston, 20th Air Force commander, outlined issues on nuclear relevance, nuclear stewardship and some concerns focused on human capital development. Additionally, the Honorable Erin C. Conaton, Under Secretary of the Air Force, provided very inspiring words about the current nuclear issues of the day and how we have successfully led through some very pressure packed situations.

The success of this competition can be attributed the high standard we set 18 months ago. Our scores were not always the highest, but never fell below the top third in any event. Additionally, we were not focused on the individual, rather our focus was on the team. Special thanks to our ADVON team led by Barry Kistler (best director of staff in the Air Force I might add). They set up a place where we could all come together and release stress and more importantly bond. They were up at 0300 making sandwiches, ensuring our security forces competitors had food during their breaks throughout the day. Additionally, our team POC, Lt. Col. Eric Brown, 320th Missile Squadron commander, constantly set the example of unselfish behavior by putting the team before himself and keeping them all on the same page.

The camaraderie among the competeting units was superb. We had a wonderful dinner with our sister wing, the 2nd Bomb Wing from Barksdale AFB, the first night. Col. Fred Stoss, 91st Missile Wing commander, and Col. Doug Cox, 5th Bomb Wing commander, dropped by our hospitality suite, and we reciprocated by stopping by theirs, reuniting with old acquaintances from days gone by. One of the classiest acts I have seen in my 25 years of service was when Col. Stoss dropped by the last night with a little "bubbly" to wish us well.

The final score posting was the last night. The teams' cheers erupted throughout the evening. The score posting continued on with the old tradition of turning 9's to 6's and back again. We took home the honors of Best EMT - Senior Airman John Thompson and Staff Sgt. Ian Johnston, both 90th MMXS, as well as best Operations and Best Maintenance. Our maintenance trophy is named after one of my favorite icons, Col. (ret) Chuck Blackburn. But two things were very satisfying after the yelling ceased and the dust settled. First, like I said a few weeks ago, our team rocked! They represented you in first-class fashion. They represented the character and toughness that separates us from the pack. Our team faced adversity and successfully overcame every challenge that that came our way. And secondly, speaking about separating from the pack, Warren walked away from the first-ever Global Strike Challenge with the Blanchard Trophy raised high. This is another moment that will stay with me for a lifetime. Well done Mighty Ninety, well done!

Go Forth and Conquer!