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Chief remembers past as he prepares for future

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Mike Garrou
  • 90th Missile Wing command chief
As I wrap up my tour as the Mighty Ninety Command Chief, I've experienced many lasts during the month of March. My last field visit, my last visit to watch our maintainers in action, my last ALS graduation, my last staff meeting, my last guard mount. A month filled with last started me reminiscing on my first few months on the job as command chief and the many firsts I had the opportunity to experience over the past two years.

On my first day on the job, two years ago, I had the privilege of welcoming the commander of U.S. Strategic Command and Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Wing. It was very unnerving to welcome our COCOM senior leaders without knowing the location of the BX or Commissary. I was glad they didn't ask me tough questions. The visit gave me the opportunity to be introduced to some great Mighty Ninety organizations and Airmen. As overwhelmed as I was, I was equally impressed with my new teammates. A few short weeks later, my initial impressions were bolstered as the Wing crushed the first ever Consolidated Unit Inspection of a Nuclear Unit. The first few weeks on the job set the tone for my time in the Wing.

I've had the pleasure of getting out and about around the Wing to better understand the mission. My first overnight in the field was with Lt. Grogan, Lt. Krigbaum and Flight 6 in the India Flight Area. It was a great opportunity to visit with the 90th Operations Group and 90th Security Forces Group Airmen for the first time. What made this trip so memorable was going on a run with the flight and having to jump over rattlesnakes. During every visit to the missile alert facilities, the chef's and facility managers took good care of me to ensure all my overnights were memorable.

My first experience with maintenance was when I watched Senior Airmen Haffer and Senior Airman Pruitt work a bomb swap. The teamwork between top side and the bottom siders was impressive - scratches, dents, dings and dirt.
I've been up close and personal in a launch facility during a simulated launch, watch our missile handling team pull a booster and hung out with our munitions teams as they meticulously perform their craft. All these visits helped me better understand and appreciate a unique mission in our Air Force.

Not only have I been out and about in the missile field, but I've had the opportunity to spend time in the duty sections on base. I've worked in vehicle maintenance, built boxes, cleaned fitness equipment, served breakfast at the DFAC and checked IDs at the gates with some great young Airmen. I've visited the Medical Clinic many times, but for some reason they still won't let me participate in their activities. I guess if a patient came in for a blood draw or dental work and saw me standing there, they might get a bit nervous.

Not all my time has been spent gallivanting around the tri-state area or in various duty locations to spend time with Airmen. Col. Tracey Hayes, 90th Missile Wing commander, and I both started our Commander and Command Chief Shadow program, where we host a young Officer or young Airman for the day. The opportunity for the Airmen to get a glimpse of a day in the life of a Command Chief was a unique experience, however, I probably learned as much from the Airmen as they did from me. Seniorr Airman Lonnie Myles, Airman 1st Class Michael Banks, Airman 1st Class Luvens Pamphile, Airman 1st Class Troy Engholm, Airman 1st Class Kimberly Perez, Senior Airman Kevin Galo and Senior Airmen Gregory Nelson are great Airmen with positive attitudes who renewed my faith in the future of our Air Force. You are the future, lead well.

My time is coming to an end here in the mighty Ninety, but what a ride it has been. I want to thank all of you for allowing me to be a part of your team and a part your family. Without a doubt, the people I've met and the experiences I've shared with you has made this assignment the best of my Air Force career. Best wishes to you and the Mighty Ninety.