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Team Baghdad - you were there

by Lt. Col. Jim Dudley
6th Logistics Readiness Squadron commander

I recently returned from being the deputy group commander for the 447th Air Expeditionary Group, Baghdad International Airport. I'd like to share with you why what you do every day in Tampa as a member of Team MacDill resulted in us being successful in Baghdad.

It took the whole team to successfully support combat operations in Baghdad; that success started with you, all of you, from your spouses, children and the Tampa community, to the trainers, supervisors, leaders and motivators from Team MacDill.

The 447th accomplished some incredible things on BIAP because we all arrived trained and experienced at our jobs. The group moved more than 20,000 passengers and 14,000 tons of cargo each month, controlled thousands of air missions, serviced 40 aircraft a day with fuel and maintenance, and daily supported more than 2,500 Air Force, sister service and coalition personnel with food, billeting, laundry, vehicles, engineering and communication services. Training provided by military, civilian, and contractor trainers prepared us for this mission and the environment we lived in.

From medical troops to civil engineer readiness folks, the combat arms warriors, Airman Leadership School instructors, to each unit's unit deployment manager, each of you made sure that we were ready to succeed. Our supervisors built on this training by providing us with opportunities to gain experience.

Each time we were given tasks and objectives and allowed to make our own way, mistakes and all, we gained the experience that translated into success in Baghdad. We succeeded because all of you, the members of Team MacDill, made sure we were trained and ready.

During the four months members of the 6th Air Mobility Wing were deployed to the 447th AEG on BIAP, we faced many daily threats to our mission and people. We got through more than 150 mortar, rocket, rocket-propelled grenade and small arms attacks through the support and good wishes of family and friends at home. The tremendous number of cards, letters, packages and phone calls we received daily kept our spirits high. The hundred notes I received from local elementary school classes truly made me feel that what I was doing made a difference back home.

The mission got done because we knew that our loved ones were being cared for by our coworkers and the community here in Tampa. We knew that this support would continue and grow stronger.

If we were called on to give our lives like so many of our Army brothers and sisters did, that our Air Force family and the Tampa community would be there. We succeeded because we knew you were there for us and our families.

Lastly, we could not have been successful without leadership. From commanders, chiefs and first sergeant, to the sergeants leading us each day here at MacDill, you provided what we called on to keep the mission going when the going got tough and when it mattered that the standard was high. You provided the words we used with our airmen and peers, with our commanders and most importantly the words in our minds that encouraged us to push that much further.

 

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