Friday, January 9, 2009

VIEW FROM THE TOP>>New horizons

By Brig. Gen. Rowayne A. Schatz, Jr.
19th Airlift Wing commander

Combat Airlifters, we had a great 2008! The mission was executed safely and successfully as we deployed and trained America’s finest to perform Combat Airlift, whenever and wherever we were called. I have every confidence that 2009 mission accomplishments will be even greater.

When you picked up the paper, you probably noticed that the name has changed from “Drop Zone” to “Combat Airlifter.” The change was made to make the paper more about you – telling your Combat Airlift story. What you will see in future issues is more feature stories about you and the important things you do to ensure a peerless Combat Airlift capability for America. Next week we will also launch our Combat Airlifter MySpace page as an interactive companion to the newspaper. This will be another way we can share information with you, get feedback from you, and a way you can share information and your Combat Airlift stories with each other.

As we enter 2009, we have some great quality of life initiatives underway.

We have a new privatized housing project owner – Hunt-Pinnacle. They have a great reputation and have a plan to get started with renovations and new construction early this year. We should see work starting in February.

We’ve turned the corner on our housing situation and things will get better for our Airmen and their families residing in base housing.

The Joint Education Center project with our City of Jacksonville neighbors is moving along nicely. The Joint Education Center project is a new base education facility that will offer educational opportunities for Airmen and local civilians alike. City of Jacksonville citizens donated $5 million of the $14.8 million facility construction cost. We should break ground in February or April of this year.

We broke ground on Dec. 11 for our new base exchange complex funded by the Army and Air Force Exchange Service. This is a big quality of life improvement for our Airmen and their families, as well as our retiree population in Arkansas and joint partners at Camp Robinson. Couple this with our new Joint Education Center, improved privatized housing, a new child development center and dining facility that opened last year, and we have some real big, exciting quality of life improvements coming to reality here on the Rock.

Yesterday, my next assignment was formally announced...Kim and I are being reassigned to the Joint Staff at the Pentagon. Col. Greg and Lisa Otey will be coming to take command of the 19th Airlift Wing during a Change of Command ceremony scheduled for Jan. 28, at 10:00 a.m. in Hangar 276. Team Little Rock will continue to shine under his, Col. Hyde’s, and Col. Summers’ leadership. I know you will give the Otey family the same support and encouragement you provided the Schatz family. It has been an honor and career highlight for Kim and I to serve with you here at Team Little Rock.

2009 is going to be a great year for Team Little Rock! We have the people, training, processes, equipment, will and determination to successfully and safely accomplish Combat Airlift for America. Let’s fly, fight, and win in 2009!

Combat Airlift!


Post a Comment