New CV shares views

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey -- By Col. Ken Stefanek
39th Air Base Wing vice commander

Members of Team Incirlik,
I'm honored to join all of you at the "Tip of the Sword," thank you for making me feel welcome. Although I've only been on base a week, I've had the privilege of meeting many of you and I'm truly awed by your expertise, dedication, and 'espirit de corps.' You all should be proud as you've made quite a first impression.

I look forward to learning more about you in the coming months and was asked to introduce myself to the base populace, so here goes. I'm from Cleveland, Ohio, and was a "civilian brat" (as opposed to a military brat) growing up - living in the Netherlands for five years and Iran for three. I entered the Air Force through the ROTC program at the University of Notre Dame. I began my flying career at Williams Air Force Base, Ariz. I've completed F-16 Fighting Falcon flying assignments at Luke AFB, Ariz, Torrejon Air Base, Spain, Moody AFB Ga, Misawa AB, Japan, Nellis AFB Nev., and Eglin AFB Fla. I've also completed school/staff assignments at the Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth Kan., the Naval War College at Newport Naval Station R.I., Headquarters Air Combat Command at Langley AFB Va., and most recently at the Pentagon while assigned to the Joint Staff. Incirlik is my 12th "home" in just under 22 years and I'm excited to be here.

During my two-year tour at Torrejon I spent about five months deployed here flying weapons training missions and filling the squadron's alert commitment. A lot has changed since I was last here in 1988, but things like the professionalism of the men and women stationed here and their warm relationship with our Turkish hosts remain unchanged. What I missed while deployed here, and one of the things my family is looking forward to is experiencing the sense of community you seem to share. I've heard the term "Mayberry" used when people describe life at the "Lik" and from what I've seen, the term is accurate. My family and I look forward to joining this community.

Like all of you, I've been shaped by my life experiences and show up with a list of things I think are important. Thankfully for those of you still reading this column, my list is short. First, leave things as good as or better than they were when you arrived. This goes from small things like cleaning up after yourself, to big things like mentoring folks who will succeed you or improving an organization/base by your activities. Next, treat other peoples' time like it is as important as your own. This not only means to start and finish meetings or arrive for appointments on time, but it also means to be prepared for whatever it is you're going to do. I've been told that our time is our most valuable commodity; it is a shame when it is wasted. Finally, laugh at yourself and enjoy life. I've found that even the worst situation is improved with a positive attitude and a sense of humor.

As the new 39th Air Base Wing Vice Commander I look forward to working together with all of you. We have a vital mission here in Turkey and several challenges in our future. I know together we'll be successful.