Holiday Greetings from the Base Commander

  • Published
  • By Col. J.R. Weilacher
  • 66th Air Base Group Commander
As we approach the holidays and the New Year, I'd once again like offer my sincere thanks for all you've done this past year.

At this time last year, I noted how impressed I'd been over the first six months of my tenure with the talent, dedication and camaraderie of our Airmen, civilian and contractor workforce. Well, another full year on the job - and as a member of the Hanscom community - has solidified and enhanced those initial perceptions.

I have taken to keeping a list of the challenges and successes we've taken on together. It's incredibly impressive and certainly not all-inclusive, yet still far too long to recite here. Simply touching a handful of highlights, I'd note the very distinguished visitors we hosted: the secretary of the Air Force, the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, the Chief of staff of the Air Force, the Air Force Acquisition Executive and the Commander of Air Force Materiel Command; and elected leaders including Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Rep. Niki Tsongas (multiple times), former Mass. Lt. Gov. Tim Murray, and dozens of other state, regional and local officials. I'd also note the incredible work we did in the wake of Winter Storm Nemo, the civil assistance we provided in the immediate aftermath of the horrific Marathon bombings, and on a brighter note, the way we supported our teammates and family members affected by the bombings. My short list would include the tremendous work done before, during and after the AFMC-led Consolidated Unit Inspection. It also would include all the work that underlies the dozens of command- and Air Force-level awards we've received, and it would most certainly include the "everyday" efforts of acquisition and senior functional office personnel who ensure we keep providing war-winning technological capability to our warfighters around the globe.

At times, it seemed like we took on these challenges with one arm tied behind our backs. Federal budget pressures limited our ability to plan properly, to travel to meet with customers, and do many other things the mission requires. More significantly, these pressures forced us to furlough most of our civilian workforce in the summer and then endure a partial government shutdown in the early fall.

Despite the personal and undeniable financial impacts, I was in awe to see it was the threat to our mission that seemed foremost on the minds of our team. Team Hanscom clearly cares about what they do and are eager to do it. Despite fiscal challenges, you excel and achieve in unparalleled fashion. I know that our Program Executive Officers, Maj. Gen. Craig Olson and Senior Executive Service member Steve Wert, join me wholeheartedly in noting just how incredibly proud we are of this level of dedication and accomplishment.

As we celebrate the holidays and look ahead to the New Year, I remain fully confident that you'll all continue to do great things in 2014, which will assuredly bring additional challenges. National resource constraints are not going away. The Air Force will continue looking for ways to respond to those challenges, and more structural changes aimed at increased effectiveness and efficiency may be on the way. And as 2013 showed so clearly, some of the things we may encounter are entirely unpredictable.

But whatever the challenge, I'm confident that Team Hanscom will respond brilliantly - because that's what we do.

Now, though, it is time to take a well-deserved break to enjoy the holidays with family and friends. I realize your thoughts are never far from our warfighters, but as you celebrate, I ask you to take a few minutes to think of those who are deployed and separated from their loved ones.

Also, remember to put safety first as you enjoy your holidays. Though joyous, the season can be hectic, and when in a rush, it's easy to make mistakes. Please be certain to wear your seat belt, stay focused behind the wheel and avoid drinking and driving.

On behalf of our center commander, Lt. Gen. C.D. Moore II, as well as Maj Gen. Olson and Mr. Wert, I once again extend sincere thanks for all you've done this year. We wish you and yours the happiest of holidays and a wonderful New Year.