Friday, August 29, 2008

VIEW FROM THE TOP >> ROCKEX – Expertly done!

By Col. Mark Vlahos
314th Airlift Wing vice commander

Greetings, all! Tonight, Brig. Gen. Schatz, 314th Airlift Wing commander, returns from his temporary duty to CAPSTONE. First, let me say that it has been an honor and a pleasure to serve as your wing commander for the past seven weeks.

We’ve accomplished a lot, moved priorities forward, met challenges head-on, and engaged with our surrounding communities, while continuing to train and deploy the world’s best C-130 and C-21 Combat Airlifters in a safe and professional manner.

I must also add we’ve had a lot of fun while doing all this. Here is a snapshot of a few things I observed while sitting in the wing commander’s chair: Airmen who are proud of their work area, Airmen who care for each other and for their families, Airmen more fit than I remember when I entered the Air Force and Airmen making a difference. For this, I thank all of you. I also spent a lot of time teamed up with our wing command chief. I can tell you, Chief Brinkley has a lot of energy and the best interests of all our Airmen at heart—he kept me running!

We just completed a highly successful ROCKEX week. We accomplished two major objectives: preparing for the worst while simulating a major accident response and exercising the wartime deployment of the 463rd Airlift Group. Everyone on base contributed to the accomplishment of these two objectives. Many people worked through the night supporting the simulated search and recovery effort. I encourage all of you to reflect on the lessons and experiences from this past week and answer these questions: “What did I learn? How did my team perform? What can my shop do to better ensure we are ready to execute such missions if called upon anytime during the day or night?”

For some of you, the ROCKEX will continue on today and throughout the weekend as we launch aircraft. Supervisors need to be aware of Airmen who worked outside of their normal shift to ensure proper rest and recovery time. Safety is always paramount in all we do—first-level supervisors, your leadership is what makes a difference here … so “rock on” and “giddy-up!” Combat Airlift!


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