Your sacrifices make our team successful

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (AFRC) -- It has been more than eight months since I became the chief servant of the 302nd Airlift Wing - what a great experience it's been.

As we prepare for the holiday season, I have the opportunity to reflect on the past year's accomplishments.

Recently, we had nearly 500 reservists deactivate after two long years (cumulative). Although our wing still plays an essential role in the war on terrorism and the security of the United States, I look at our efforts with extreme pride. Due to all of your sacrifices, our wing has accomplished its goals both at home and overseas. Our wing alone saved more than 50 convoys from crossing hostile areas. Our mission was in hostile air space, but we saved many lives by air lifting people and goods.

Our success is due to everyone's work - both those who deployed and those who stayed behind. It has truly been a team effort. I couldn't be more proud of your commitment to the wing. The 302nd has set the precedence for the future and we will continue to strive to be the best unit in the United States Air Force.

I have also challenged the community to learn more about the mission of the Air Force and the Reserve. During the past year, we have received more support from the community than we could have imagined.

We are instituting the 302nd AW Honorary Commanders Program to help educate our civic leaders about what we do. I would like to see both reservists and civilian employees work together to make the 302nd a better place to work!

Through the efforts of our Public Affairs office, we hosted several civic leader tours to help promote the Air Force Reserve. Next year, we will be planning our own civic leader tour and will be looking for inputs on who you would like to see participate.

As we set our sights on a new year of challenges and triumphs, I once again ask you to continue your thoughts and prayers for our nation's military members who are deployed far from home while you celebrate this holiday season. They can only dream of savoring the sweet taste of a homemade pumpkin pie, warming themselves in front of the glowing embers in a fireplace or watching loved ones gleefully open boxes filled with gifts. We are so fortunate to be at home to enjoy such festive moments and to have such brave and selfless military men and women who make it all possible.

My wife Nancy and I want to thank everyone at the 302nd AW, military and civilian, and your families, for a wonderful year. We appreciate your support, hard work, sacrifice and commitment to this wing, our Air Force Reserve and our country. You are making a lasting contribution to our national defense and the preservation of our ideals.

We wish each and every one of you a safe and happy holiday season.