Commentary | Dec. 18, 2008

Hunter 1 wishes Hunters safe, happy holidays

By Col. Chris Chambliss 432d Wing, 432d AEW commander

Wherever you may be in the world, and whatever your background may be, the holiday season can be a memorable experience enjoyed by all. It's a time for celebration, spending time with our family and loved ones, and taking some time for reflection on the events and accomplishments of the past year. 

However, this time of year can also bring about difficult times and added stressors. Creech Airmen are everyday fighting the war on terrorism from here and from Iraq and Afghanistan. Our warfighters are charged with enormous responsibilities and continuously step up to take care of missions around the world 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. 

Because our mission doesn't stop, I realize many of you will be spending time away from your family and loved ones over this holiday season. Your sacrifices and dedication aren't going unnoticed. 

We are making a difference here and abroad. As I reflect on this past year, the 432d Wing and 432d Air Expeditionary Wing have made tremendous leaps and bounds, and we continue to do so thanks to the efforts of all of you! Currently in support of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom, we've successfully stood up our 31st Predator Combat Air Patrol and 2nd Reaper CAP. We're meeting the demands set in front of us and we're only going to continue to exceed expectations. 

Our operations tempo is high and there are some important things to keep in mind during this holiday season. If you notice someone acting out of the ordinary or think they may be in trouble, take some time to be a good wingman. Supervisors need to place an added, sustained emphasis on our Wingman culture. Perhaps if you know of a single Airman who will be spending the holidays alone, invite him or her to have dinner with you and your family and friends. Just a few minutes of your time can make a huge difference in someone else's life, especially in times of distress. 

Practice safety in everything you do not only on duty, but off duty. Always use good judgment and think before you act. If you're planning a road trip, get plenty of rest before hitting the road and use caution while driving. Never drink and drive. Remember you always have an option before getting behind the wheel of a vehicle while you're intoxicated. Have a plan prior to taking that first drink, and stick to it. I expect all supervisors to conduct safety briefings for their subordinates and ensure full personnel accountability measures are implemented. You all are an integral part in our mission and I can't afford to lose any one of you due to something that could have been easily prevented. 

I'd like to wish all of you a happy holiday season. It's my honor to serve with you.