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Straight Talk: Holiday greetings

Posted 12/14/2011   Updated 12/14/2011 Email story   Print story


Commentary by Col. Stacy L. Yike
66th Air Base Group commander

12/14/2011 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- During this holiday season, I want to wish every member of Team Hanscom the very best.

I hope you take a few moments to reflect on the year that has now nearly passed, and to take pride in what we've accomplished together. We celebrated as a community during Heroes Homecoming, Summer Bash and Oktoberfest. We honored those before us with a Sept. 11 remembrance and a Veterans Day thank you. We focused on each other with Wingman Day, award events and Police and Fire weeks. We said farewell to many as they PCSd or retired, and we welcomed more, including our new Electronic Systems Center Commander Lt. Gen. CR Davis.

During the "ESC Showcase," we brought the ESC mission to life. Some of the areas highlighted included the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node, noted for its combat effectiveness, the Combat Survivor Evader Locator radio, which has been credited with more than 40 combat saves, and Tactical Air Control Party equipment that enables timely, accurate close-air support. Hundreds of attendees also enjoyed the opportunity to tour a Joint STARS aircraft.

We transformed our club into a thriving community center, the Minuteman Commons, to better serve the base. Housing construction was completed and now we have more than 650 families on base. We kept the networks up, the lights on and the base safe despite budget challenges. We even kept the grass cut, too! Everyone pitched in to reduce our energy footprint and the volunteer spirit grew with Hanscom Helping Hanscom projects underway.

In addition to our major mission milestones, Team Hanscom gave back to our local community. We hosted a successful Girl Scouts "Cookies for a Cause" event, sending 30,000 boxes of cookies to our deployed service members. We supported our local VA hospital with monthly troop visits and the AFA Veterans run with more than 100 Hanscom participants. We supported the local community with 300 speakers and guests, honoring the military, and more than 250 Airmen performed flag details at Fenway Park. Tops in Blue came to town and our own Band of Liberty gave 322 performances across the region.

Interspersed amongst it all, Hanscom hosted senior leaders such as Gen. Donald Hoffman, Air Force Materiel Command commander; David Van Buren, Air Force service acquisition executive; Dr. Ashton Carter, the current deputy secretary of Defense; and most recently Sen. Scott Brown. I know we awed them with our professionalism, competency and team spirit!

It's that very spirit of community that enabled us to work through a season of near-record snowfall last winter, to handle Hurricane Irene this summer and cope with power outages this fall. It's also what helped us deal with change - AFRL moving out, the Mass. National Guard preparing to move in and the restructuring efforts led by Air Force and AFMC.

Those are a lot of accomplishments. So take a moment to reflect on all you have done and be proud! Soon we will gear up to tackle the challenges of 2012. I know the Hanscom spirit, expertise and innovation will let us roar through these challenges to meet the mission ahead.

Take a deep breath and smile. Share in the joy of the season. Say hello to a neighbor, lend a hand to a colleague, celebrate yourself and, above all, be safe! Be safe for your family, be safe for your friends and be safe for you. To all of Team Hanscom, I wish you the happiest of holidays and a very bright new year.

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