I Pause to Give Thanks

  • Published
  • By Col. Brian Newberry
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing commander
"Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action." W.J. Cameron

We are Airmen of action.

We have demonstrated that in spades over the past year. In garrison and abroad, Fairchild Airmen, both Active and Guard, have defended freedom on point; fueled freedom in the skies overhead here and in the skies from the Pacific to Afghanistan; and answered the call from the 36th Rescue Flight training our Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape students and rescuing injured citizens, to our warrior SERE Airmen training 18,000 Airmen a year.

We are Airmen of action, and for this, we should pause to give thanks for our commitment to a cause greater than ourselves.

Thanksgiving, first celebrated with the Pilgrims, was officially established by President Lincoln to promote unity for a great nation torn by civil war.

As wing commander for the 92nd Air Refueling Wing, I am very grateful for the unity of Team Fairchild, a unity that is stronger today after a very tumultuous year.

As I reflect on your many achievements, I am thankful for how we synchronize like a Thunderbird formation to fly, fight and win for America.

Yes, I am thankful for meeting monthly with Airmen from our First Term Airmen Center who, when asked why they joined, tell me, "Sir, I joined to defend America with pride and passion."

I am thankful for NCOs, graduates of our exceptional Airmen Leadership School, who have been the frontlines moving Team Fairchild forward to new heights, exemplified by our recent award of the Meritorious Unit Award.

I am thankful for Senior NCOs, whose phenomenal expertise has been the cornerstone of our ability to adapt and overcome in the midst of mounting fiscal and manning challenges.

I am thankful for our officers who lead Airmen and have a laser focus on keeping Team Fairchild accelerating to meet our vision of winning today's fight and building partnerships for tomorrow.

I am thankful for our hearty civilians, who remain the foundation of our experience and continuity, and preserved through the government shutdown and sequester, to keep our mission going.

I am thankful for commanders, who answered my charge to be bold and innovative, and fostered a culture of shared governance, where together, we hit sequester head on and guaranteed support for the full range of our assigned military missions.

I am thankful for our wonderful Fairchild spouses and their children, whose smiles light up our lives and always, always have our back to get our mission done with first class pride.

I am thankful for our Guard, Army and Air Education Training Command partners on base, who epitomize Total Force, a benchmark for others to learn from.

I am certainly thankful for a supportive community, whose citizens are patriots, and has stood shoulder to shoulder with us since we opened for business in 1942.

I am also thankful for a nation, which is the greatest nation on earth, and for our sister services we fly formation with as we jointly provide a blanket of freedom for America from sea to shining sea.

I am thankful for President Roosevelt's Four Freedoms--freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, freedom of fear--and for liberty, a privilege we will pass on to our children and our children's children.

As I look back over the past year, I am eternally grateful for Airmen like Capt. Mark Tyler Voss, Capt. Victoria A. Pinckney and Tech. Sgt. Herman "Tre" Mackey III, whose sacrifice can never be repaid, and whose sacrifice we pledge will not be in vain...they will not be forgotten.

We are indeed Airmen of action, we are a mission excellence installation, and I am incredibly thankful for that.

Yes, I am thankful to be an American Airman, who answers the call so others may prevail, and I will always be thankful to serve a special team, united in a noble cause to win in the difficult war on terror.

We are Team Fairchild...we will win!

This Thanksgiving, and every day of the year, I pause to give thanks for all of this...I pause to give thanks for America....

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." John Fitzgerald Kennedy