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Team MacDill: exceeding expectations

by Lt. Col. John H. Kafer
91st Air Refueling Squadron commander

As I near the completion of two years in command of the 91st Air Refueling Squadron, I continue to be impressed by the teamwork exhibited by of our wing's Airmen. With our high operations tempo, executing many various missions could not be done without the dedication, support and true teamwork of nearly every organization on base.

I'd like to cite several examples from routine to deployed operations, to the extra missions we take on.

Well over a year ago, a 6th Services Squadron captain asked for an unsolicited office call with me to ask how to improve our Flight Kitchen support for our aircrew. After discussing what was going well and which areas needed improvement, he went back and improved our Flight Kitchen support by an order of magnitude. Our aircrews agree…they now routinely utilize the Flight Kitchen when they previously had not.

I'm continually impressed by the teamwork from our maintainers. A recent example highlights their typical level of support. After taxing out and approaching the runway, we encountered a problem with an emergency backup system that would have kept us grounded. No less than five minutes after our radio call for assistance, maintenance support showed up at the aircraft, fixed our problem in under five minutes and saved the mission. Their day-to-day dedication to our mission is no less than outstanding.

Watching our Airmen pull together to execute combat operations in a deployed environment is nothing less than remarkable. I was privileged to deploy twice and witness our maintainers, aircrew, life support, planners, transportation, crew communications and a host of others willing to do whatever it takes to maintain 24-hour operations safely.

On one particular occasion, our unit moved into a new wing operations center. The move was accomplished in less than a day while maintaining constant connectivity in the 24-hour ops center and continually executing combat missions. One of our outstanding non-commissioned officers coordinated the move, but it would not have been a success without the outstanding support of civil engineering, communications and a host of volunteers required to set up computers, phone lines, furniture, supplies and the secure communications needed to run an ops center.

The teamwork I witnessed while deployed has been no less impressive at home. Our 6th Operations Support Squadron planners and schedulers have routinely gone above and beyond to get the 91st , the night fighters, formation air refueling missions, overseas missions, or any of a host of others required to maintain our aircrew, trained and proficient. The total team effort exhibited during the spectacularly successful Air Fest '05 and CORONA South events surpassed previous feats.

Few organizations, civil or military, can boast of the high-quality people we have in our Air Force…your teamwork makes the difference. I feel privileged and honored to serve with you and call myself an Airman.

Thank you for all you do for our nation.

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