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"Courage is doing what you are afraid to do"

  • Published
  • By Col. Greg Tims
  • 90th Missile Wing commander
Not very many people know F. E. Warren actually had a dirt landing strip for a period of time. It was located close to the main gate along Interstate-25. This landing strip was used for several purposes from the "Western Flying Circus" demonstration team to a mail courier service. Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker would also use the landing strip while he was flying for the mail service. Captain Rickenbacker was considered the "Ace of Aces" during World War I with 26 down aircraft and observation balloons. His courage under fire also gained him the Medal of Honor for his actions near Billy, France when he took on seven German planes to his one.

Did you know we are on a conference call every morning with 20th Air Force and Air Force Global Strike Command? I find these calls very beneficial, and it ensures those in our chain of command they are fully aware of the happenings and issues at F. E. Warren.

This briefing starts within our groups and proceeds through the command post airmen briefing Col. Scott Fox, 90th Missile Wing vice commander, or myself. The notes in our briefing are very detailed, and it takes a lot of time and effort to ensure we pass nothing but 100 percent correct status. I just want to say thank you to all those involved in this important briefing and also for the super job you all do.

What a pleasure to host Maj. Gen. C. Donald Alston, 20th AF commander; his wife Ana, and Chief Master Sgt. Tammy Elliott, 20th AF command chief, last week. We are so very blessed to have the leadership of these three. My wife Julie and Lt. Col. Shelly Strong, 90th Forces Support Squadron commander, provided Mrs. Alston a tour of some of our base facilities and myself, Chief Master Sgt. Marty Anderson, 90th MW command chief, and Lt. Col. Chuck Roberts, 90th Civil Engineer Squadron commander, gave General Alston and Chief Elliott a tour of other parts of our base. We started off in the facility maintenance team pre-departure room where Master Sgt. Chad Hooks, 90th Missile Maintenance Squadron, provided a first-class briefing to a team that consisted of 11 Airmen: nine airmen first class, two senior airmen, and one staff sergeant. While certainly young, this team was preparing to conduct a diesel engine unit replacement and their motivation and focus was second to none!

We all met at our first-ever quarterly awards breakfast. Yes, we broke some glass and it turned out to be a fantastic event. Special thanks to Master Sgt. Mark Leuquire, 90th FSS, and Master Sgt. Jennifer Moore, 90th FSS, for their superior emcee skills and Chief Master Sgt. Jimmy Williams, 90th Mission Support Group, and his team for organizing the breakfast. I'm still trying to assess my favorite cheer I heard that morning -- safety's cheer was, well let me say, very unique! Like I said, what a great way to start the day with bacon and handing out awards.

We then transitioned to the Missile Handling and Transfer Facility. We were able to show General Alston some of the aging equipment issues we are dealing with as well as our long range plans to upgrade facilities.

Next was our gravel road trainer course. Troy Weaver, 90th Missile Wing Safety, provided a personal tour of our gravel road course to General Alston and Mike Woods, 90th MW/SE, gave Chief Elliott a spin on the skid pad trainer. Additionally, Dave Clark, 90th MW/SE, demonstrated our big truck training. I just can't say enough about our safety office. While we all watch the non-rollover rate climb with each passing day, the safety program as a whole, whether it be in the air, on the ground, or underground has set records that some units could only dream about.

We then showed up at the 90th Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle maintenance section led by Tony Janssen, 90th LRS. Like I wrote back in the Oct. 15 edition, our on-alert HMMWV rate hovers near the mid-90 percent range. When you have professionals like Chief Master Sgt. (ret.) Bob Porth, 90th LRS, and Airman 1st Class Mathew Lester, 90th LRS, one can see why we lead in this area. General Alston also received a detailed briefing by Tech. Sgt. Nick Hartman, 90th LRS, who runs the "Mobile Joe" section. He and his team are always out in the field and will check every vehicle usually within a two week period. It is obvious to me Nick has a keen sense of the value that he and his team bring to the fight -- ensuring the Warren vehicle fleet is receiving constant attention. This type of pride and dedication runs deep here at F. E. Warren!

We then provided General Alston and Chief Elliott a tour at our snow barn. Here they got to meet the professionals who clear our streets of snow and ice. This is no easy task as they work around the clock to accomplish this goal. Tech. Sgt. Glen Farmer, 90th Civil Engineering Squadron, provided a great description on how they do this task as well as our snow removal priorities. Rest assured, this base is in good hands with this team.

The Child Development Center was next. So there is no misunderstanding, let me make this very clear -- Mary Jacobsen, 90th FSS, and her team fit right in the middle of both our mission and vision statements. Ensuring our children are being well taken care of eases a huge burden on those who use this service. We are also looking forward to the new construction, which will add four new classrooms and allow for about 56 more openings. This much needed project is due to be completed in June 2011.

I really appreciate General Alston, Mrs. Alston, Chief Elliott and Mr. Mike Elliott joining our squadron commanders for lunch. The rubber meets the road at our squadrons. I thank them for their nuggets of wisdom they shared on various ways to reach into our squadrons ensuring all members feel welcome, encouraging participation and supporting one another.

Time was allowed for the afternoon portion of the visit for General Alston and Chief Elliott to roam unescorted and observe the Mighty Ninety in action. Those of you at Independence Hall, contracting, and the military personnel flight had an opportunity to interact on a very personal level. The feedback I received was not surprising. I thank the wing for an A++ job -- like I have said before, daily excellence starts right here in our own back yard -- job well done!

Every day we face challenges. Many times these challenges will test our character and toughness. Do not shy away from these challenges, for they allow us to test our mettle and sharpen our sword. As Eddie Rickenbacker once said, "Courage is doing what you are afraid to do."

Go Forth and Conquer!