Team Fairchild looks toward future at base all-call

  • Published
  • By Staff Sergeant Ryan Lackey
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

The 92nd Air Refueling Wing commander and command chief assembled Airmen together to share the accomplishments of the previous year and Fairchild’s current strategic vision going forward during the first “all-call” meeting of the year at the base theater on Jan. 15, 2020.

“It’s important to take a look back at all of the small victories and accomplishments, the individual disciplines and efforts that made this past year a success,” said Chief Master Sgt. Jason Hodges, 92nd ARW command chief.

Fairchild Air Force Base’s 2019 highlights included the reactivation of the 97th Air Refueling Squadron, hosting Air Mobility Command’s large-scale Mobility Guardian exercise, Inland Northwest Skyfest, Leaders Inspiring For Tomorrow presentations, the Spark Tank innovation competition, Year of the Defender, Green In ’19 initiative and many more.

“I’m glad for this opportunity to thank the Airmen of Team Fairchild for a great 2019,” said Col. Derek Salmi, 92nd ARW commander. “We’ve made a tremendous impact and I expect we will continue that trend and reach even greater heights in 2020.”

Salmi and Hodges then shifted to the present by discussing the activation of the newly activated Space Force military branch and upcoming new physical training standards.

“We must always be ready, for we don’t know what 2020 has in store for us,” Salmi said. “There will be developments over the next 18 months or so, so pay attention, because there may be people with us here today that will one day serve with the new Space Force.”

Hodges emphasized the importance of providing support to fellow Airmen and to remain vigilant for life-stressors that can affect work performance, lead to substance abuse and even suicide.

“We had 119 suicides across the Air Force in the past year,” Hodges said. “But I’m thankful for the great strides and initiatives taking place to help give Airmen hope; that starts with each one of you. Be the person that has the courage and the confidence to approach somebody, it’s not easy, but never underestimate the power of just being there for somebody and giving heartfelt support.”

Salmi placed the presentation’s greatest emphasis on looking ahead to the future of Fairchild in 2020.

“Our first goal is to continue to be the KC-135 Stratotanker center of excellence for the U.S. Air Force,” Salmi said. “We now have four flying squadrons and 59 aircraft, which will grow to 63 this year, which is nearly three times as many as other active duty bases have, firmly cementing us as the largest tanker base in the world.”

The base has committed to dozens of exercises large and small over the past year in preparation for the Nuclear Operational Readiness Inspection coming to Fairchild this June. The inspection will test how air-tight units involved in flying missions are, assess the wing’s nuclear surety compliance and mission completion reliability should the wing be called to engage in wartime operations.

“I’m confident that Team Fairchild will be ready,” Salmi said. “We give options to our national decision makers by training as we fight, coming together on this as a team and practicing being the best at what we do.”

The commander ended the meeting by calling on Airmen to remember the rich history of where they serve their country and to take pride in adding more to its story with every accomplishment.

“I’m constantly reminded of the history we build upon each day,” Salmi said. “We started as the 92nd Bomb Group in World War II, known as ‘Fame’s Favored Few’ over the skies of Europe, so we’re keeping that legacy going into 2020. As the Favored Few, our goal is to be the best at this mission in the entire command.”

Fairchild proved in 2019 that it successfully invested in its Airmen who have helped display world-class ability in being ready to compete, deter and win at home and for missions around the world.