Wing commander sends holiday wishes, highlights blessings

  • Published
  • By Col. Robert Thomas
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing commander
As we celebrate this holiday season, Mari and I extend our very best wishes to you and your families for the happiest of holidays!

We often identify this holiday season in terms of gifts. Gifts are about expressing appreciation and gratitude; they're about giving from the heart, not necessarily your wallet. The value of giving is not a sum, but the total commitment to give to others. An Airman's gift, your gift, is service to our nation, to our families, and to our fellow Airmen, that brings security, liberty, and hope to America and to millions around the globe.

The outstanding service of Fairchild Airmen during the past year can be seen in many places--over 920 of our Airmen have deployed to serve in the combat theater of operations, in many capacities. In our Air Refueling role, we have flown over 3,600 sorties, and delivered 23 million, 500 thousand gallons of jet fuel to coalition aircraft. Our battlefield Airmen have escorted convoys, built airbases, patrolled the perimeters, spiritually and medically healed our wounded, and so much more. There are American Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines, alive to celebrate Christmas this year, with their families, directly because of you! Chief Nordel and I had the opportunity to visit our deployed Airmen during this season and are happy to report they are serving with distinction and honor!

On the home front, in addition to our wing's superb performance in the Nuclear Operation Readiness Inspection, ORI, and LSEP, we have gone above and beyond in many other areas. From the Medical Group's Excellent Health Services Inspection, the Security Forces Squadron Rodeo trophy win, the home-run with the recreation of the original Spokane Sun-God flight, our enormous celebration of 80 years of air refueling and the 85th anniversary of the Washington Air National Guard, our Total Force team continues to make history with it's phenomenal accomplishments.

Here at Fairchild, we are blessed with the tremendous gift of our surrounding communities. Groups like Greater Spokane Incorporated, Operation Spokane Heroes, our Honorary Commanders, Eagles and distinguished community leaders and elected officials provide outstanding support to each and every Fairchild Airman (Active, Guard, Reserve, and Civilian). They generously support us throughout the year, including Military Appreciation nights for our local sports teams, and the Lilac Festival Armed Services Torchlight Parade, funding support for our awards programs, and in hundreds of other ways. We thank each community member for their continuing support as it provides a soft place to land for each member and their family.

An Airman's Gift is freedom, security, hope and service--I hope these ring true with each of you. Please take the time this season to pause and remember those who are serving away from home and in harm's way, and most importantly, thank the family members who serve along side of you--their sacrifices are many times greater than yours. The continued accolades, the remarkable teamwork, the family atmosphere, and the stupendous support from our community, all combine to make Fairchild a very special place to serve. I look forward to seeing this tradition of excellence continue in 2010 and beyond.

Happy holidays to you all. May your season be filled with all the joy and happiness you so richly deserve!