Fortitude, Audacity and Valor

  • Published
  • By Col. "Tip" Stinnette
  • 39th Air Base Wing commander
This is the 100th time I've written a commentary for the base paper. We've been together 24 months now, and it's time for me to go. But before I do, I wanted to share some thoughts, some of which I've been saving for 24 months.

It's been the honor of my life to be your commander.

One of the things about command is that you're always somewhat apart. You spend a lot of time going by too fast. People ask how I feel about leaving. And the fact is, "parting is such sweet sorrow." The sweet part is the memories. And the sorrow is the goodbyes, of course, and leaving this beautiful base.

You know, the commander' s office has a few windows in it and I like to stand and look out early in the morning. The view is over the intersection between Second and "E" Street. I like to see the grass on the banks, the morning traffic as people make their way to work, and the lights of the Alley. I've been thinking a bit at that window. I've been reflecting on what the past two years have meant and mean. And the words that come to mind like a refrain are Team Incirlik, Izmir and Ankara ensuring freedom's future.

I've been asked if I have any regrets. Well, I do. My regret is that I did not do more. Oddly enough I depart spent but wishing I could have done more. And how stands this installation on this summer's day as I look out my window? My hope is more secure and confident in its contribution to ensuring freedom's future than it was two years ago. But more than that; after 53 years, this installation continues to stand strong and true on a granite ridge and the glow has held steady no matter what the storm.

Tip's Team will have to become the Phil's Patriots. Soon he'll be the commander, and he'll need you every bit as much as I did. Finally, there is a great tradition of warnings in commander farewells, keep them short and no crying so this is about all I have to say, except for one more thing borrowed from General Patton's farewell to his beloved 3rd Army.

The honor which is mine and mine alone is that of having commanded such an incomparable wing the record of whose fortitude, audacity and valor will endure as long as history lasts.