Friday, August 29, 2008

VIEW FROM TOP>>It’s good to be home

By Brig. Gen. Rowayne A. Schatz, Jr.
314th Airlift Wing commander

It’s good to be back at Team Little Rock! Last Friday was a big day: you completed the ROCKEX, and I returned home from CAPSTONE. I’ve talked with Col. Vlahos, our vice wing commander, and Chief Brinkley, our command chief, and to no surprise, they emphasized each one of you performed well and gathered many lessons learned in the process; they couldn’t have been more impressed. It makes me proud to be able to come home to the same amazing – if not better – Team Little Rock Airmen and incredible mission performance I left behind seven weeks ago. You truly are the heart and soul of “The Rock!”

CAPSTONE was a great opportunity to observe from a bird’s-eye-view the current status and future of our great joint military team. The course is designed to educate new general officers from all services to plan and employ our forces in joint and combined operations.

We talked about everything from national security to interoperability, among other key allied nation issues. I also had the opportunity to see firsthand the brainchild and bed-down process/status of what will soon be USAFRICOM … U.S. Africa Command, scheduled to become an independent unified command by Oct. 1. I’m excited to bring this knowledge back to “The Rock” and implement it into our day-to-day operations and overall C-130 mission; C-130s play a huge role in the current fight against terrorism!

For those that aren’t already aware, the AMC Site Activation Task Force team was here this past week conducting a site survey for the host-base transfer.

Our projected switch from Air Education and Training Command to Air Mobility Command is coming up fast; let’s ensure we’re 100 percent ready and that the transfer is transparent.

The AMC SATAF team will assist us in streamlining our transition and ensure we have everything we need to successfully transfer the lead reins.

The deployment tempo may change, but no matter what command claims us, our missions will remain training and deploying world class combat airlifters and taking care of our Airmen and family members on the home front; the sacrifices our family members make in order to ensure we are prepared for any call to duty truly make our mission possible.

Also coming around the corner quickly is this year’s air show October 18 and 19!

Everything is coming together well, and our air show/open house team and community partners are working hard to make this show and demonstration of the U.S. military’s awe-inspiring capabilities the best yet!

The Navy’s Blue Angels demonstration team, the Army’s Golden Knights parachute team, the Shockwave jet truck, the Virtual Army Experience, F-22s, among a host of other performers and events will all be on display, but I’m personally thrilled to see

“The Rock’s” own C-130s in an amazing capabilities exercise, including paratroopers.

While aerial maneuvers and driving over 300 mph are certainly impressive, the ability to drop “beans and bullets” within a tiny radius in remote locations to our deployed comrades is equally impressive, and also very important! Additionally, a hearty “congratulations” to our senior NCO inductees and staff sergeant-selects! This is a monumental step in your careers! Take this time to learn from those who have “been there” as you transition into the future leaders of our Air Force. We’re all proud of you!

Thank you all for welcoming new members of our leadership team to our growing family.

Col. Hyde, Col. Johnson and Col. Hair are all newly arrived on station and freshly minted Team Little Rock Combat Airlifters. Please allow me to add my “Welcome to the Team,” gentlemen!

Again, I want to thank each and every one of you for your hard work last week during the ROCKEX, as well over the duration of my TDY.

I am continually amazed by the caliber of people I have the honor of serving with; thank you for giving me such a happy homecoming! Have a safe and enjoyable Labor Day weekend.

Combat Airlift!

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