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CC Call keeps Airman current

Story by Staff Sgt. Randy Redman
Thunderbolt editor

MacDill's evacuation during Hurricane Charley, the induction of 64 master sergeants into the senior noncommissioned officer corps and construction projects on the horizon were a few of the topics discussed at the Commander's Call held by Col. Don Halpin, 6th Air Mobility Wing acting commander, at the Base Theater Aug. 27.

There was an underlying theme throughout Colonel Halpin's message. It was that MacDill will continue to succeed as long as it adheres to certain guidelines.

"In the absence of specific instructions, an organization will be successful if it adheres to its commander's vision. We have that vision," said Colonel Halpin, referring to Brig. Gen. Tanker Snyder's vision statement. "To be America's most responsive, reliable and renowned mobility wing. I applaud the wing's ability to succeed through this vision."

Colonel Halpin moved on to MacDill's performance at the Inspector General Exercise held recently.

"The wing, under the direction of Col. Brian Kelly, 6th Operations Group commander, sent more than 100 troops to Michigan and completely wooed the Inspector General," said Colonel Halpin. "We proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that we can handle a war."

He went on to emphasize the importance of readiness and base training, such as the regular field training exercises, and that this kind of training can and does save lives.

Next on the agenda during the Commander's Call was how well Team MacDill handled Mother Nature's wrath during Hurricane Charley. Colonel Halpin said although we had a near miss three weeks ago, unfortunately our good fortune turned into somebody's bad fortune.

He said base personnel did a fantastic job of pulling together to safely evacuate MacDill and continue command and control. He gave special kudos to the 6th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron personnel who stayed up through the night trying to fix a KC-135 for evacuation. Also to Chugach, whose knowledge assured an air-conditioned relocation for those who moved to the Florida State Fairgrounds. Lastly, he commended the command and control, ride-out and recovery teams, saying they pulled together wonderfully and executed perfectly.

Another topic Colonel Halpin discussed was the Senior Con-Commissioned Officer Symposium, and how well MacDill is training the future leaders of the Air Force. The symposium took 64 master sergeants and master sergeant selects through a whirlwind week-long course to indoctrinate them into the SNCO corps. It has garnered such recognition that chief master sergeants of the Air Force (ret.) Paul Airey and Sam Parrish were guest speakers.

Fitness standards were next on the agenda. Colonel Halpin said the culture of the Air Force has changed; Airmen need to be focused to deploy and fight and one way to do this is to stay in shape.

"For the first year of the Air Force Physical Fitness Test, I don't think we are doing too bad," he said. "However, I want to see passes across the board; this is a goal to shoot for."

Colonel Halpin mentioned the contestants in the Enduro Challenge, a grueling adventure race which combined a five-mile run, seven- mile canoe, a 40-pound ruck sack run and many other physical and mental challenges. He said participants competed not only for bragging rights, but in support of the troops who are deployed in locations overseas.

Lt. Col. Dave Cohen, 6th Air Mobility Wing's chief of safety, also had the opportunity to address the audience about the 101 Critical Days of Summer nearing an end. He said although Labor Day officially marks the end of the yearly campaign, Airmen cannot forget about the importance of using common sense when taking risks. He wrapped up the safety briefing by saying no matter what an individual Airman's job may be, every day needs to be a safety day.

When Colonel Halpin returned to the stage, he tackled the subjects of DUI's, upcoming deployments and the massive construction projects, which will continue through the next year. He also mentioned the importance of voting in the upcoming elections and the Air Force Birthday Ball.

He wrapped up by reminding the audience of General Snyder's imminent return today. Colonel Halpin said General Snyder is looking forward to returning as the wing commander and will be back in his office by mid-September.

 

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