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Fairchild Focus in the Eye of the Storm…our Airmen Count

Col. Brian Newberry is the 92nd Air Refueling Wing commander. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Col. Brian Newberry is the 92nd Air Refueling Wing commander. (U.S. Air Force photo)

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- 2014 will be another challenging year for our Air Force. Last year, as we stood on the eve of 2013, we did not clearly see the storms that were headed our way from sequester to government shutdown. Despite the difficulties, the strength of our Airmen and our excellent leadership allowed us to weather the storm and end the year as an award winning Wing.

On the eve of 2014, we do see storm clouds headed our way as we evolve our service to a smaller, leaner force. We also better see the continuing fiscal storms that have not yet abated and still impact our base. Know this--we already have buttoned down after a tumultuous 2013, which has better prepared us for any stormy weather headed our way in 2014.

The Air Force is a lead agent to detecting, tracking and providing speedy aid whenever storms ravage our homeland, including seasonal hurricanes. From satellites to hurricane hunters to airlift relief, we excel at providing hope for our nation during times of inclement weather. I am thus absolutely confident in our Wing's ability to batten down the hatches, hit the many changes coming our way and transform ourselves into the modern, exceptionally responsive Wing our Chief of Staff of the Air Force envisions. My optimism rests on solid ground, as I witnessed firsthand our Wing's ability to adapt and overcome to all challenges last year...challenges in large measure we didn't even see coming.

We are certainly on high alert as we enter the New Year. Our 92nd Force Support Squadron has its advance scouts plowing thru the new procedures and processes, and are educating our commanders and populace, one Airman at a time. Our commanders are preparing their "homesteads" and accounting for everything, staying vigilant. Finally, our Airmen are prepared. We remain on point doing our mission, checking our personal records, and staying motivated to do our 24/7 mission without fail. The storms of 2013 drew us closer together...our faith in each other and pride in being Airmen will keep us together for 2014.

At the center of any hurricane is the eye of the storm where calm winds persist. For Team Fairchild, our Airmen and their families will be the eye of any storms that befall us. It is the Airmen that puts his or her hand up and says "send me;" it is the Airmen that innovated last year and saved the Wing thousands of dollars in doing our mission smarter; it is the Airmen and their families that epitomized bold leadership, comforted the families of our fallen and answered the call so that others may prevail. Our Airmen are always the center of any storms and provide an azimuth for our Air Force to guide by in any storm. From the windy beaches of Kittyhawk, where the original Airmen flew to the skies over Europe, Korea, Vietnam and Afghanistan, our 92nd Air Refueling Wing Airmen are on point flying higher, faster and stronger.

Our checklists to weather the storm include a laser focus on safety and a continuation to promote a culture of responsible use of alcohol, suicide prevention and eradicating sexual assault within our ranks. Ultimately, our leadership's promotion of a culture of dignity and respect strengthens the entire team in the face of all adversity. While our hurricane hunter aircraft fly solo, we do not. We are Wingman with a capital "W," and fly fingertip formation to battle back all that comes our way. Together we are stronger. That was certainly the lesson of a tumultuous 2013.

92nd--we are ready for any storm coming our way in 2014. Our hatches are battened down and we are standing shoulder to shoulder knowing that is the only way we will live up to our Wing motto of Higher, Faster and Stronger in the face of all headwinds. 2014--bring it on. Fairchild is focused on people, mission and staying in the eye of any storms that come our way...our Airmen count!