The awards just keep coming to the Sharks…

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- This week I had the distinct pleasure of handing out a special award to the senior management of our Patrick AFB commissary - the Defense Commissary Agency East 'Superstore' Award for Best Commissary! This came as no real surprise - because this entire installation has benefited from the special positive support and attention that we've received through the Airmen care packages, food contributions to the quarterly Dormitory 'Burger Burn', and countless celebration cakes across the Wing for special occasions. It was terrific to see such a great award for a great team - and they're still in the running for 'Best in the DoD'!

Looking back in recent months, it has become obvious that we, the Sharks, have scooped up a number of major awards to an astonishing degree. Here are some recent examples: The 45th Space Wing won 6 of 8 eligible awards for the Air Force Space Command 2007 Air Force Weather Awards - what an amazing recognition of the best weather forecasters around! We also had an amazing coup for our airfield managers: Gen. Kehler himself, the AFSPC commander, personally coined several airfield operators last month for outstanding performance, led by Capt. Stephanie Daniels of the 45th Operations Support Squadron. Other organizations that have received numerous AFSPC 2008 Awards include our Base Library, Outdoor Recreation office, Ticket and Tours program, Military Equal Opportunity Office, Education office, Wing Safety Office, and the Contracting Squadron, just to name a few.

However, by far the majority of awards go to the individual people who make it all happen - and this is completely intuitive when one understands that it's the people who make the mission work! For example, the AFSPC Command Post Airmen of the Year is Staff Sgt. Tatiana Gonzalez - imagine how difficult it would be to manage our Wing business if we didn't have professionals like her at the heart of our C2 center! Unsung heros abound: we have one of the very best-kept secrets around - our historic museum, and Emily Perry manages a team of ace volunteers that keeps 'true history' in fighting form for sharing our long-storied past in this exciting space business - the work that's accomplished by Ms. Perry was recognized by AFSPC with a special "Heritage Award".

More recently, Master Sgt. George Price of our crack EOD team was personally recognized as 14th Air Force Senior NCO of the Year and is a 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year nominee, and the 14th Air Force Gen. Charles Horner "Tiger Award" was presented to Capt. Davina Fallaw for her incredible contributions to launch operations. This is just a sample of the long, long list of true winners we have that have recently been recognized by the Wing, the 14th Air Force, AFSPC, the Air Force Association, the Air Force and the Department of Defense. In all, our count of individual awards at all levels through all organizations now tops well over 100 over the past two years! What an amazing accomplishment!

It's impossible to pinpoint a specific moment when all of this recognition began to happen - I know it's because the Sharks have been a terrific team all along. As evidenced by our repeated high marks on Operational Readiness Inspections, our unbeatable track record in capturing the Schriever Trophy and the Herres Trophy, our countless recognitions, and the outstanding manner that we get the business done, you can truly be proud of what you do for this country and its mission. Times will be tough and challenges will never recede, but the huge influx of awards coming our way provides the best possible indicator that we have an absolutely amazing team of people that are accomplishing 'quiet heroics' each and every day of the week. I am certainly proud of all of you who make it all come together! Go Sharks!