Great time to welcome back our returning warriors
By Brig. Gen. Susan Helms, 45th SW commander
/ Published September 27, 2007
Patrick AFB, Fla. --
What a fabulous diamond anniversary weekend celebration we held for our Air Force! In spite of Mother Nature's protests, we got it started with a fantastic Freedom Fest Friday at Chevron Park. It was capped by a jaw-dropping fireworks show. Kudos to Bill DeCoux, Liane Roche, Duane Renshaw and our entire Services Division team, and special thanks to the civil engineers and security forces for making it happen. It was a super event.
The following night, more than 600 of us gathered in Cape Canaveral for a second night of camaraderie and celebration at our Air Force Ball. The hard work and attention to detail put into planning and executing this event by Chris "Prez" Bailey of the Air Force Association, Lt. Col. Pat Youngson and his committee co-chairs Maj. Jud Stone and 1st Lt. David Howard, was evident from start to finish. I offer a hearty "Shark salute" to them and everyone involved with making it a very special evening. I'd also like to express my appreciation to our guest speaker Col. Kevin McLaughlin for his insightful and timely remarks. Tech. Sgt. Mark Getsy and Airman David Dobrydney of our Public Affairs Office, who teamed with Mark Cleary, our historian, also deserve pats on their backs for producing a special 60th anniversary edition of the Missileer. Finally, Amy Tinch of our Protocol Office, soared above and beyond, tying together a myriad of details that added luster to the event. Well done to all!
We also have another reason to celebrate. Recently, many of our Airmen have returned to the Space Coast after long deployments and we expect a great many more to return home in the coming weeks. Let's be mindful of these fellow Airmen returning from war. Some have served long periods under hostile fire and operated under the constant threat of enemy attacks. The needs of each redeploying Airmen will be different. So, it is incumbent upon every commander, first sergeant and immediate supervisor to help each returning Airman transition back and assimilate to "ops normal" with their families, communities and workplaces as smoothly as possible.
The reunion and reintegration period after an extended deployment is an especially critical time for Airmen and their families. We are very well postured to support these Airmen. We have a coordinated strategy and the proper support in place to ensure our Airmen are well taken care of following redeployments. Professionals, such as the staffs at our chapel, Airmen and Family Readiness Center, and 45th Medical Group are ready, willing and trained to help our returning warriors.
This wing is loaded with solid wingmen, who demonstrate the warrior ethos - hardiness of spirit, and moral and physical courage. This courage, valor and sacrifice is fed by a community that is caring and compassionate. I see it everyday, in every way. Please keep taking care of each other. As we reflect on the Air Force's 60th anniversary and celebrate the homecoming of our Airmen, let's consider how we can continue to im-prove the resources and support of our fellow Airmen. Go Sharks!