Eight months, 20 days and 34 issues

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey -- Man 'oh man, it seems as if it was only yesterday that I arrived at Incirlik. But in retrospect it has been eight months, 20 days, and 34 issues of the Tip of the Sword.

More importantly, this issue of the Tip of the Sword marks the last of our first quarter of 2006. It has been a banner first quarter and a whirlwind eight months and 20 days.

Chief Allen and I just got back from the U.S. Air Forces in Europe Commanders' Conference and Annual Awards Banquet. I have got to tell you that every nominee was treated as a winner and the experience was truly energizing.

To top off the evening, our own Randall Cummins from the 39th Contracting Squadron was selected as the USAFE Civilian, Category II of the Year and according to our information we nearly garnered USAFE bests in the other categories as well! Our nominees represented us well and Team Incirlik clearly stood out as a force to be reckoned with.

I am also pleased to report back that we have a new USAFE motto and one that we can add an Incirlik twist to..."Team Incirlik ... Ensuring Freedom's Future." Over the course of the next few weeks we will share the new USAFE Vision, Mission, Goals statement with you and show you just how we fit into it all here at the Lik. These are exciting times for the men and women of USAFE as we begin to shape the team for the future. Along that line, you will also be hearing a lot about Air Force Smart Ops 21.

This is an initiative designed to give us back some time by doing things smarter, more efficiently, and ultimately more effectively. It can be as simple as redesigning our weapons issue in the armory to make it faster so that an eight- or 12-hour shift is actually closer to eight or 12 hours instead of 10 or 14 hours.

We encourage everyone from airman basic to colonel to raise practices that are in need of revamping with the idea of saving time, money, and people while making the operation safer and more effective. Please don't keep your ideas to yourself, but share them with your leadership. We'll be talking about this more over the coming weeks and months.

The accolades keep rolling in ... we pitched our DIGITCON program at the Commanders'
Conference and it was well received.

The Airmen Leadership School and First Term Airmen's Center components of the program will be adopted Air Force wide.

Our Public Affairs team won the best small base PA award for USAFE and our base paper was awarded the best internal information award as well. Our Services team is coming off hosting the Air Force Eubank team visit and is in the running for the best small base services function in the Air Force.

We are on an upward glide-path where success builds upon success and it is all because of what each of us contribute to the whole team and the power of synergy (word for the day ... look it up).

By the way, we have a new program to share your achievements with your families.

It is called the Power of Presence and allows your families to access a public Web site with pictures of you from promotion ceremonies to DV visits to graduations. Your squadron commanders will be getting with you whenever there is a picture of you posted on the web site and will also offer to send your family a letter telling them about the event and how to access the Web site at http://www.usafe.af.mil/pop/.

This is a great way to share your experiences and achievements with your friends and families.

This Friday we cap our first quarter off with a wing run, Airmen's Time, a promotion ceremony, and picnic in Arkadas Park. Please pay close attention to this issue of the Sword as it serves as a thoughtful reminder that none of us are immune from an accident especially if we are stupid. The article on flight leadership takes our wingman culture to the next level and it is something we intend to focus on as we ramp up to our 101 Critical Days of Summer Safety campaign.

I was so proud of our flight leads and wingmen over the last three-day weekend...let's make safety more than just "Safety Shmafty" and commit ourselves to smart operations in everything we do You are all heroes and I am so proud to be serving with you. At the end of this day I can honestly say that despite being away from my wife and daughter, I would not trade the last eight months and 20 days for any other assignment and look forward to the promise of a successful surety inspection and next eight months and 20 days. If we keep doing what were doing, we'll keep getting what were getting.

Fix bayonets and charge on!