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Col. John "Red" Millander
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Commander’s Comments

Posted 5/1/2008   Updated 5/1/2008 Email story   Print story

    


Commentary by Col. John "Red" Millander
437th Airlift Wing commander


5/1/2008 - CHARLESTON AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- What a great weekend here at Charleston Air Force Base!

Air Expo 2008 was absolutely huge. We hosted more than 139,000 people from throughout the southeast and many said it was the best air show they'd ever seen. Starting at 9 a.m. until the Thunderbirds took to the sky, droves of people converged on the base to see what their United States Air Force is all about ... they left the base amazed.

Our guests included state and local elected officials, television actors and producers, business men and women, along with other influential individuals in the community. However, most importantly, we showed John Q. Public what role Team Charleston plays in the Global War on Terrorism. It's the average American taxpayer who was our focus. Despite being engaged in a very high operations tempo, having many of our folks serving downrange, and prepping for a major inspection, we owed it to the community that supports us, and our team delivered a world-class event.

I wish the space they give me for this column allowed me to individually thank the thousands of people on this base who made Air Expo 2008 a phenomenal event. I can't do that, but I do want to recognize our air show director, Lt. Col. Scott D'Antoni, and his deputies, Majs. Nate Howard and Laura Radley. These three fine Airmen put together an amazing air show staff and they, in turn, put together one heck of an air show. Scott, Nate, Laura and the rest of Team Charleston, thank you for all the hard work and dedication you put into Air Expo 2008. You brought back memories for the World War II P-51 pilot who watched his old airframe carve the sky and gave hope to young children who dream of serving their nation. Thanks again for an amazing air show.

We now turn our attention back to our wartime mission. The fly-away mobility exercise has kicked off and the rules and expectations haven't changed. We must be able to answer the 5 a.m. phone call from our supervisor and be ready to deploy in support of a humanitarian crisis anywhere in the world.

We do it right every day and this should be no different. Our active-duty Airmen and Reservists will deploy as a team to show Air Mobility Command that we are prepared for any challenge. We've won the awards ... we've received the accolades from the Air Force and AMC ... now's our chance to prove to the inspectors that the 437th and 315th Airlift Wings are the best in their respective commands.

This week, we also deployed the 14th Airlift Squadron to Southwest Asia and we'll soon welcome back the 17th Airlift Squadron from their four-month tour. The 14th's deployment marked the sixth time we've deployed under the 2 Expeditionary Airlift Squadron construct. I can tell you that the system is working. Team Charleston aircrews are breaking flying and airdrop missions with every deployment. Keep up the great work.

Team Charleston - Take the Fight to the Enemy!



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