Let’s go for three

  • Published
  • By Michael Byrd
  • 90th Missile Wing Historian
I think its hat-trick time. That's right - it's time to gear up, mount up, and work up a sweat as the Mighty Ninety competes for the improbable, the unbelievable, and the almost unthinkable feat of winning the Blanchard Trophy for the third straight year. Some thoughts may come your way such as, "well, it can't be done." Well, I would respond, "Who says!" Who says that the winning ways of the men and women of the Mighty Ninety must come to an abrupt end? For sure, history itself does not discount such a feat, even if no such three-peat were ever recorded. What that means is it's time to make history by doing what we do best - by being the best that we can be.

Maybe it's the wind blowing over the prairie grass and across the ruts of wagons and pioneers. At F. E. Warren, we forge forward like our forefather pioneers into lands and awards previously unknown. Our motto says it clearly and unashamedly that we are "undeterred." Well, what does that mean exactly? Undeterred means we don't believe in luck, but we believe in hard work, sacrifice and each other. Undeterred means in essence, 'get out of the way because the Best Damn Missile Wing' in the world is ready, hungry, and just itching to prove once again who really is the tip of the spear.

Why such bravado talk, you might ask. Well, let me remind you. Who won the Blanchard Trophy last year or the year before? Who won the Blackburn the last two years, the Moorman, the McAdoo, the Phillips, and the Williams awards and trophies? Who endured two years of near-constant inspection and walked away with boots clean and head held high? Who has the best record of training, performance, and safety in the command? Who was the first to undergo the Consolidated Unit Inspection and come away... yes, that's right with another EXCELLENT earned rating? The undeterred raging Wranglers of the 90th Missile Wing, that's who!

It's true, we may not have the meanest sounding handle, that of Wrangler. But you know, that's all talk, and talk is cheap. You may talk a good game but can you walk in our boots? Look at our performance and our reputation, and admire not the gleam of all those awards, but look deeper at what they represent. They represent character! We may not be the prettiest looking bunch, but then folks from this neck of the woods don't think much about looks. It's character that matters, and it's character that continues - yes, year after year we win the day and along with it, all those pretty, shiny awards. Don't get us wrong, awards are good and fine, and we celebrate them from time to time - but awards don't define us. What defines us is the day-in, day-out, 24-hour alert readiness of deterrence. We've committed our lives to deterrence because deterrence means peace, and peace means lives saved. That's right, we think of others before we think of ourselves and our comfort; such is the character and legacy and heart of the best, the Mighty Ninety.

What is this character I speak of? Let's start off with integrity. True, the Mighty Ninety had some past bumps in the road but you know what, they made us stronger and better because we honestly accepted our faults and then we fixed them. We didn't sit on our hands or whine or point fingers. No sir, we are better than that. Our leadership took the high road by accepting and acknowledging our challenges and we did not stop there. We worked on those broken processes from sunrise to sunset, on weekends, and through many a holiday. We didn't pencil-whip a problem or ignore it and hope it goes away. No, we brought those issues out into the open and as a team went to work on them. We listened to each other's advice and came up with a game plan and fixed the problems we could fix.

Next we sacrificed. The value of service before self is not just words on a page - we absorbed them, believed them, and lived them out. We sacrificed, meaning we gave up time with our loved ones, we gave up some sleep, and often we gave sweat and tears. We have a legacy like the wagon pioneers and like our Atlas forefathers of getting the job done regardless of how we feel. Like our legacy of the 90th Bombardment Group, we are innovative, daring, and well, just good! For example, our maintenance folks got their hands dirty, and that meant grease under finger nails, scraps and back pain, and for our security teams, long camper times. Those equated to millions of miles of travel, enduring rain and hail storms, blizzards, and dusty gravel roads. It meant another night bent over a book in study and missing the game, some sleep, and our loved ones. It meant believing in something greater than yourself and giving up comfort to see the mission performed with excellence. We give and sacrifice because we know who we are. We are foremost servants of the American people, of freedom, of liberty, and the defenders of deterrence.

And finally, we pursue and strive towards excellence in all we do. As we've shown you, we know excellence, we've tasted it and we like it. Excellence tends to fall off the tongue of many quite easily, but the application of work and dedication to meet excellence is another thing all together. Over these past two years, excellence to the Mighty Ninety is more than fancy words. Excellence is an ingrained ingredient of the way we do business, our mindset, and is a part of our character. We at the 90th expect and demand excellence from one another - that's just how we roll. We'll see you at the Global Strike Challenge. We'll be the ones with determination in our eyes, sweat on our brow, and in well-worked hands another gleaming Blanchard Trophy raised high in triumph!