Tuesday, February 3, 2009

View from the Top>>A Homecoming

By Col. Gregory S. Otey
19th Airlift Wing commander

Lisa and I are thrilled to be back at The Rock! This assignment is very much a homecoming and one my entire family welcomes. I was stationed here as a weapons officer in 1995 at the C-130 Weapons School as part of the initial cadre. Little Rock Air Force Base and the surrounding communities have a long and storied history in Combat Airlift and I could not be more proud to return as the commander of such a fine team.

Team Little Rock is known around the world as the Home of Combat Airlift. It's not the distinct gray airplanes that give this base its well-deserved reputation - it's the people. The Airmen here have shown time and again, both at home and abroad, that they are the best at what they do. The base has grown and the mission has evolved in the decade since I was last here but the one thing that has remained the same is the steadfast dedication of an entire team active-duty, civilian, Guard, family members, retirees, community to accomplish a mission like no other.

I have been handed a great legacy and it is my goal to improve upon it. We will all work together to provide America with a peerless Combat Airlift capability and the world's best Combat Airlifters. We will continue to ensure Combat Airlift is delivered on time, at the right time, to the expeditionary commanders who depend on us. And we will strive to make even more quality of life improvements that will enhance your lives, careers, and our mission effectiveness.

A keen focus on the Combat Airlift and training missions here are vital to our nation's defense, but we must also focus on community engagement. This base has a solid partnership with our surrounding communities and I encourage you to continue these efforts. The strides you've made in teaming with local community leaders and schools are paying great dividends for both. The $5 million donation by the citizens of Jacksonville to build a joint education center is an unprecedented example.

We are dedicated to providing our Airmen the best education possible and we have made that same commitment to our local schools. Our continued commitment and involvement with our local schools will pay dividends for our children and our neighbors' children.

I look forward to meeting all of you as Lisa, I and our children settle into our new home here at the Rock. We thank each and every one of you for a warm welcome home.
Combat Airlift!

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