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Commander’s commentary: Thank you for the warm welcome

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- Let me start out by saying it again ... Wow!

My family and I have been overwhelmed by the tremendous reception that we have received since our arrival. We have been impressed with the pristine condition of the facilities and landscape of this awesome installation. Even more impressive has been the professional and extremely friendly men and women of Team Fairchild and the Spokane community!

My family and I are delighted to be here in the beautiful Inland Northwest. I am humbled by the opportunity to command a wing filled with such rich tradition and a recognized track record of excellence.

Thank you for the warm welcome - the change of command ceremony was absolutely perfect and I want to again praise all of those who labored to make it such an overwhelming success. My first impression of Team Fairchild has been tremendous - the base looks fantastic. I have heard many wonderful things about this wing and the relationship with the Spokane community; we already feel like we are home!

Our air refueling mission is more critical now than ever, as we continue to be engaged in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. The Operation Noble Eagle alert we provide day in and day out is also vital to our nation's homeland defense. Team Fairchild is a critical element in supporting the war-fighting commanders as we prosecute the Global War on Terrorism ... combat starts here!

With 300-plus Airmen deployed at any given time, Team Fairchild truly embodies a 21st Century mobility wing.

After meeting the group and squadron commanders, it is clear that there is no shortage of great leadership here. Sound leadership is a key ingredient to the success of an organization, and it will serve us well as we cultivate a culture of excellence at Fairchild.

We have many exciting events on the calendar in the coming months, including the Air Mobility Command rodeo and a unit compliance inspection at the end of July, and Skyfest 2007 in September. I'm sure with your dedication and perseverance we will be successful.

In addition to many operational events, we will continue to be engaged with the local community.

I arrive at Fairchild at a time when community support has never been stronger. Last week Spokane officials were presented the Abilene Trophy, recognizing the Lilac City as the town providing the best support to an AMC unit.

I hope to build on that support in the coming months with Honorary Commanders and Operation Spokane Heroes events. We must continue working closely with our neighboring cities and towns to foster mutual understanding and cooperation.

Once again, I am thrilled to be part of Team Fairchild. Command is a great responsibility as well as a great honor. I thank each of you for your service and look forward to the opportunity to meet you.