Seasons greetings from 302nd Airlift Wing commander

  • Published
  • By Col. Jay Pittman
  • 302nd Airlift Wing commander
Flexibility, or the ability to adapt without breaking has been a theme and way of life within the wing throughout 2013 and especially during the last quarter of this year. The civilian furlough days, partial government shutdown and lapse in funding at the start of fiscal year 2014 created challenges for the wing.

Your innovation, dedication and hard work allowed us to and continues to allow us to perform our mission, providing mission essential capabilities in support of our nation's defense. Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System missions, deployments in support of Operation Enduring Freedom to include the wing's C-130s and operations and maintenance personnel as well as aerial porters are a few of the major operations for the wing that continued despite these challenges.

The 302nd AW's MAFFS mission wrapped up its support of the U.S. Forest Service's aerial fire fighting efforts on September 7. This year's season included aerial fire suppression to the wildland fires in eight states, and included our wing's contributions to the MAFFS Air Expeditionary Group's 541 retardant drops.

Also in early September, the Mission Support Group's 39th Aerial Port Squadron deployed approximately 30 of its members who will provide aerial port operations during the next six months in support of U. S. Central Command. On Sep. 18 the wing welcomed home approximately 150 Airmen from the 302nd Operations Group and 302nd Maintenance Group who were also deployed to Southwest Asia and provided C-130 airlift support to U.S. Central Command Operations from May through September.

The lapse of funding at the start of FY 2014 did not allow us to hold the October UTA as scheduled and as a result, the wing's Consolidated Unit Inspection was cancelled. Both the October UTA and an inspection, which will be changed to a Unit Effectiveness Inspection, will be rescheduled to the two days prior to the July UTA. Thank you to all who put in extra efforts preparing for the CUI. While it was disappointing to see it cancelled as we were ready and prepared for success, I am confident the efforts given will only be of help and will lead to the success of July's UEI.

In addition to the wing's unit deployments, each year several individuals from the wing volunteer for and are selected for individual mobilizations. Next year, I will join the Airmen from the wing deploying on an individual basis. I self-nominated and was selected to serve as the Air Reserve Component Liaison to the commander, US. Central Command in Southwest Asia. Col. Courtney Arnold, the 302nd Airlift Wing Vice Commander will assume command of the wing during my six-month deployment.

On a final note, Sherry and I wish all members of the 302nd Airlift Wing, both here and deployed, your families and all who support your participation in the Reserve a very happy holiday season. Thank you for all you do!