Brig. Gen. Owens: Thank you, you've laid the cornerstone

  • Published
  • By Brig. Gen. Doug Owens
  • 36th Wing commander
It has been my honor and privilege to serve as your wing commander the last two years, and I want to take this opportunity to thank you. I came to the 36th Wing excited about this great base and wing rich with history that was again in the midst of robust operation and great change. Teresa and I both came here excited at the prospects of a new Air Force home here at Andersen. We got far more excitement than we bargained for.

We've seen infrastructure and mission growth with Global Hawk. We have seen a world class training campus start to emerge from the jungle of Northwest Field. We've seen numerous rotations of bomber, fighters and tankers in support of operations here in the Pacific and sent hundreds of our Airmen abroad in support of AEF operations world-wide.

We've laid the foundation for Joint Region Marianas and helped pave the way for the Marine Corps move from Okinawa to Guam. We've partnered with the Air National Guard in Red Horse and worked with the Army, Navy and Marines alike in planning for the future. We've seen quality of life improvements with Tarague Beach, the new BX and at our golf club house--all aimed at improving life here at Andersen.

We've also experienced heartache at the loss of life and national treasure. What we experienced together with you, in the face of our successes and the unexpected trials and challenges, was, collectively, a life lesson that will always stay with us. Your efforts, responses and actions were inspiring and your strength in crisis became ours. Your efforts and those of our families met all of our challenges, tragedies and loss with professionalism and compassion that far surpassed what I could have hoped for. You rose to all occasions and what the nation saw in good time and bad was the unity of an Air Force wing and family that takes care of its own whether responding to the routine or to a family in pain.

You also performed those often unseen day-to-day tasks that provide the building blocks of a growing base: whether innovating in the backshop, clinic or office, revitalizing and beautifying our beaches and communities or supporting efforts to send life sustaining aid with the annual Christmas Drop to the remote islands of Micronesia.

You've laid the cornerstones for the tremendous and important growth that continues here. You did so at a critical moment in the Pacific and in American history. Whether you worked here or away on deployment, and whether you are permanent party or deployed to Andersen, you strengthened our alliances and gave those that would threaten us pause. I could not be prouder nor pass on to my successor more outstanding Airmen and capabilities.

Continue to do what's right and to take responsibility for yourselves, your families and our vital mission. And, consistent with the aims of our new Chief of Staff, I ask you to focus your efforts on our core values and the precision and reliability that exemplify our Air Force.

I have no doubt I will continue to read about your successes and what Andersen Airmen bring to the fight. And as Teresa and I reluctantly leave Andersen and Guam, we will continue to tell your story, savor your victories and recall fondly the warmth and professionalism you showed us.