Wednesday, August 6, 2008

VIEW FROM THE TOP >> One thing that is constant in the military: change

By Col. Mark Vlahos
314th Airlift Wing vice commander

Greetings, all! A casual drive around Little Rock Air Force base will reveal lots of change going on, and this means a lot of good news. Today, I’d like to take a moment and highlight some things happening around us, some you may not even be aware of. Every other week at the Joint Introduction Program for new arrivals, I mention Little Rock Air Force Base is an enduring installation, and we have a history of great support from our local community, the Air Force and our Congressional delegations.

This past week, we cut the ribbon on a newly renovated veterinary clinic to support military families. Also, we re-opened a much improved assault zone to support our primary wing mission—training and deploying the world’s best C-130 and C-21 Combat Airlifters. Additionally, our new base dining facility is nearing final completion, and we should see it open for business very soon. Our base medical clinic is also in the final phase of a total overhaul; this facility was literally rebuilt from the inside-out and is a world-class facility.

Other major construction projects in various stages of completion include a new squadron operations and aircraft maintenance unit facility, a new corrosion control facility and a new wing headquarters building. This fall, we will begin a two-year project to completely redo the main runway. Within the next year, we hope to break ground on a long overdue new base exchange and mini-mall food court facility and the Joint Education Center. Yes, there is a lot of dirt moving, but that is a good thing!

Finally, I would like to welcome two new senior leaders and their families to “The Rock.” Col. James Johnson and his wife, Stacey, recently arrived from MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., and Col. Chris Hair and his wife, Maura, arrived from Scott Air Force Base, Ill. Both of these officers come to us with great records of service and will assume key leadership jobs within wing in the upcoming months with the new air mobility unit.

Yes, a lot of change is in the air, but that is the one thing that remains constant with a career in the military. Each one of us makes a difference every day at “The Rock,” and we all strive to leave the base better than we found it for those who come after us.

Have a great, safe and wonderful weekend! Combat Airlift!


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