Commander's Column

  • Published
  • By Colonel Kenneth D. Lewis, Jr.
  • 927 Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs Office
Welcome to February in Florida. I spent the last three weeks in Virginia enduring the worst snow storms in 20 years. It is nice to be back. We thought there would be a little drop in activities for the 927 ARW after the deployments. That has not proven to be true. We have close to 100 people either deployed or on long term orders. Our Air Evacuation Squadron is heavily involved in Haiti relief efforts, and the year is just beginning. In order to prioritize our efforts the wing leadership gathered together and produced an updated Strategic Plan. It outlines our vision, goals and milestones for the coming year. Our wing focus this year will be on readiness.

Before I get into the STRAT Plan too far, I want to acknowledge the 45 AES for its continuing contribution to the Haiti relief effort. As of the 18th they have flown / completed 23 missions, transporting 221 patients; 176 medical and non-medical attendants (family members) have also been transported. They are transporting only critically ill patients based on FL / GA guidelines. Their efforts are saving lives and it is an honor to work with such a great group of professionals.

This is the year of readiness for the 927 ARW. The first focus area in our strategic plan is Combat Readiness. Training and maintaining combat ready personnel is our number one mission as a reserve wing. Our focus will be on providing opportunities for every member of the 927 ARW to complete their readiness requirements and receive the readiness training they need to deploy. While doing so we will establish processes that will ensure all 927 ARW personnel can maintain that high state of readiness.

Col. Jerry Vowell has volunteered to lead this effort. He along with Maj. Dave Riley are working on simplifying training. They are looking at easier ways to identify who needs what and how to provide it in multiple venues. With Col. Vowell's leadership in this area, I have no doubt that this wing will achieve its goals.

The 927 ARW will also spend time this year directing efforts in preparation for the January 2011 ORI. This inspection will be conducted along with the 6 AMW. Both wings will receive separate grades but we will be integrated in many areas. The active duty has a very robust exercise schedule throughout the year. I realize that the 927 ARW cannot afford to participate in monthly exercises so it is imperative that the group and squadron commanders look at the scheduled opportunities and determine which ones will ensure their units are ready for the ORI. For those participating in the ORI the ORE will be mandatory. Commanders need to make sure they are heavily involved with planning this year. Col. Ted Mathews along with Maj. Danny Menashi have taken lead on our preparations.

I fully expect the 927 ARW will be more than ready for the ORI. You all have built an outstanding wing. It is full of premier people with exceptional attitudes and work ethics. The ORI is just another opportunity to show the world the 927 ARW is the Premier Associate Wing.