A new road to travel

  • Published
  • By Col. "Tip" Stinnette
  • 39th Air Base Wing Commander
"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood ... and both that morning equally lay in leaves no step had trodden black. I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way ... I took the one less traveled by." -- Robert Frost

Welcome to 2006 and the promise of a new road to travel, both as individuals and corporately. I am pleased to report we all made it back from the holidays. Some made it back a little bent, but no one got broken.

I am stopping short of declaring victory because we bent a few of our teammates and even one is too many.

I must be honest with you, I am particularly heartbroken by the "blue-on-blue" incidents, they amount to Airmen not looking out for Airmen, or much worse, Airmen hurting other Airmen.

This is totally contrary to the wingman culture we are trying to institutionalize across the corporate Air Force. I am sure that we can do better and I look forward to our commitment as a team to do just that over the next year.

The guidepost that I'd like you to consider has not changed from the first time that I talked to each of you and is especially appropriate as we gear up to celebrate Dr. King's birthday Jan. 16.

I believe Vernon Baker said it best, "Give respect before you expect it, treat people the way you would want to be treated, remember the mission, set the example and keep going."

Mr. Baker is the only living black World War II veteran to earn the Medal of Honor.

Our installation partner, the 10th Tanker Base Command, is scheduled for a major inspection the week of Jan. 23. You have undoubtedly noticed their efforts in preparing for the inspection.

Toward that end, we will conduct a joint Combat Proud sweep Jan. 20 and will minimize our "footprint" Jan. 24, which will be the day of their most significant inspection activity.

It is important for us to provide any requested support to our partners in their preparation and execution during the inspection as I am sure they will return the favor in September during our inspection.

Clearly, our September surety inspection will be a milestone for the 39th Air Base Wing. Over the next six months we will PCS in a number of our inspection teammates, among them will be the new 39th ABW vice commander, 39th Mission Support Group commander and 39th Maintenance Group commander.

The June to September spin-up for our new teammates will be crucial to our success during the inspection. I ask that each of you ensure that you have complete work-center continuity guides and that you do a thorough job of training-up your replacements. It is also equally important to know that our commitment to the air expeditionary force will not abate during this time period and we must build redundancy into everything we do.

The upcoming AEF cycles 9 and 10 will certainly afford us a great opportunity to identify our single points of failure with 70 teammates deploying. Let's be sure to get everyone out the door with everything they need and on-time; and let's ensure that we have matched each of our deployers with stay-behind sponsors. It is all part of our wingman culture.

I would be remiss if I did not tell you how much the U.S. Air Forces in Europe commander was impressed during his visit to Incirlik last week. He immediately seized on our greatest attribute, our sense of community which is unlike any other installation in USAFE. He was equally impressed with our sense of mission and contribution to Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. He remarked about the clear pride of our north loop warriors and left Incirlik with a great understanding of the capability that we provide on a daily basis. Incirlik was the first main operating base in USAFE that he visited and he said that we set the bar high. You all did great and I am so proud to be associated with you.

2005 was a great year for Incirlik ... we got "mission," passed two major inspections, won 54 above wing-level awards, and set the stage for 2006. Cowboy-up and giddy-up! It is 2006 and we are faced with two roads diverging in a wood; let's take the road less traveled by, and I am sure that it will make all the difference!