Happy New Year; Now Let’s Get to Work

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Happy New Year and welcome back from an enjoyable and safe holiday season. I want to personally thank each of you for keeping safe over the holiday season collectively we made it through without incident. Mollie and I hope each of you had an opportunity to spend quality time with family and friends to reflect on past achievements and get rejuvenated for a challenging year in 2009.

Over the last several months of 2008, we focused on preparing our wing for the upcoming Unit Compliance and Operational Readiness Inspections, and our focus remains the same as we embark on a new year. We will be intensifying our efforts and hard work to ensure that we are all 100% prepared for this rigorous inspection . We will be kicking it up, so be prepared. We will continue to conduct flawless operations while aggressively working towards an "Outstanding" rating.

January also marks the fifth month of the Year of Leadership, which focuses on education and training. Developing people to lead the world's best air, space and cyberspace force is a leadership responsibility, but it also takes the personal commitment of all Airmen to become skilled in their respective jobs and the profession of arms. There are numerous professional military education courses available to you, not to mention the many undergraduate and graduate level courses. There are also opportunities for professional continuing education for officers, enlisted members and civilians conducted by Air University at Maxwell AFB, Alabama. The Air Force Institute of Technology is currently offering 10 NCOs an opportunity to earn an advanced science, engineering or management degree as part of the Enlisted-to-AFIT program. This is a great opportunity for our enlisted members to further their academic development. However, nominations are due to Air Force Personnel Center no later than Jan. 15. The Team Pete education office has a wealth of information and resources available for you as part of you benefits, and I highly encourage you all to utilize it. In addition, our base library is a great source of educational resources. Again, I encourage every Airman to take advantage of these opportunities and improve your professional toolkits.

Next week, we will be hosting Maj. Gen. K. C. McClain, Air Force Personnel Center commander and her team of professionals for a "Spread the Word" briefing. For maximum participation, there will be an "All Call" for 21st Space Wing personnel, scheduled for Jan. 13, at 3 p.m., at the Peterson AFB Auditorium.

Specific topics covered in the "Spread the Word" briefing include: 365-day deployment options, the Global AEF tempo-banding system, civilian hiring procedures, and assignment processes. All Airmen should check with their group command sections for seating availability.

Please join me in congratulating Master Sgt. Robert Cawley, 21st Security Forces Squadron, on his Stripes for Exceptional Performers, or STEP, promotion to master sergeant on Dec. 22. The Flight Operations NCO-in-charge is in charge of the daily activities of more than 100 personnel, the security of Peterson, and $31 billion in resources. Sergeant Cawley's hard work and tireless dedication proves he is deserving of this great honor. Kudos to him on his well deserved promotion.

This week, Chief Master Sgt. Tim Omdal and I are visiting Thule Air Base as they go into their third month of operations in complete darkness. Nov. 1 marked the first full day of darkness there and the sun will not rise above the horizon again until mid-February. Chief Omdal and I are exceedingly proud of the great work that the 821st Air Base Group and 12th Space Warning Squadron do on a daily basis at the Department of Defense's northernmost base for missile warning and space surveillance operations missions. Team Thule does an outstanding job and we are all very appreciative for your sacrifices.

Again, welcome back from the holidays and I look forward to working with every member of the team this year. We have a lot on our plates in the upcoming months. But I have nothing but the utmost confidence that we will continue to set the example.