MIDDLETOWN, Pa. --
To begin, I would like to thank all the officers, senior non-commissioned officers, NCOs and Airmen of the 193rd Special Operations Wing for their tireless efforts to fly and support the mission. The unit’s more than 225,000 safe flying hours are a testament to your dedication and sacrifices to keep the mission going. It has been a privilege to serve alongside all of you over the last 24 years of my time in the 193rd.
Going forward, there will be lots of challenges with the unit conversion to the MC-130J mission. Please stay focused on your training and transition to your new roles and responsibilities. Not addressing the small details could have dire consequences. Meet your new challenges head on. You will grow personally and professionally when you test yourself in your new roles. Do not be afraid to speak up or take on leadership responsibilities. You don’t have to be appointed to a leadership role to act in one.
There are a lot of new and younger Airmen who can benefit from your mentorship, even if it is informal. You never know when a casual conversation might change someone’s life or career path. Be an active listener. I think I have learned more about my Airmen by just simply listening to them. Most of the time, they already know the right answer, but giving someone an audience allows them to verbalize it. You as a mentor/listener can re-emphasize it for them or steer them toward the right answer.
The last thing I would like to talk about is heritage. This unit has undergone many unit conversions over the course of its history. The MC-130J aircraft is a new chapter in the unit’s lineage. The unit would not be where it is today without the sacrifices and hard work of all the Airmen who have previously served in the 193rd and its predecessor units. If you ever get a chance to meet anyone who has previously served in the unit, take a moment to thank them and listen to their stories. Every now and then, we need a reminder of where we were, to see where we are heading.
I will miss my job, the mission and most of all the people I have had the privilege to work with over the years. Stay safe and take care of each other.