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Commander announces Family Day, issues thank you message

  • Published
  • By Col. David P. Garfield
  • 482nd Fighter Wing commander
First of all, I'd like to thank everyone for their hard work at the change of command ceremony this past September. The setting and the hospitality me and my family received was superb.

My friends and family still comment on how well the ceremony was done, especially my 94-year-old aunt who mentioned that the event was one of the finest highlights of her life! So, thank you all very much.

As I immerse myself into the wing's tremendous mission sets, one overarching goal I'd like us to strive for is to embrace the "pay it forward" concept. Pay it forward essentially means to do something good for someone or some entity, not expecting anything in return, only knowing that things will be better than they were.

So for me as the commander, I want to pay it forward by making improvements not only in the wing but also make positive, long-lasting contributions to the community. In the coming months, I will develop priorities that show you the way we are going and they will serve as a guide post for commanders and the inspector general to improve our operation, thus paying it forward.

My most recent experience with the wing came when I was with the Air Combat Command IG team in assessing your Operational Readiness Inspection redo in December of 2012. Being that I was stuck in the command and control section, I did not get to see all aspects of the wing.

However, since arriving, I've gotten to know a lot more about the wing and I am continuously in awe of the level of professionalism and performance on display. I am truly honored to be here as your commander and I am humbled at what has been accomplished despite many ongoing challenges.

During my change of command address, I talked about my four F's: faith, family, friends, and fortune. I'd like to add 'fun' to that list by announcing a Family Day which will occur during Saturday of the December Unit Training Assembly. I encourage all families to attend as the wing puts on many great activities.

For our Traditional Reservists, I truly appreciate the time you take out of your busy civilian careers to continue to serve our nation. For the triad of family, civilian career, and service to our nation, I know there is a fine balance keeping all three in alignment. From the civilian career aspect, I bet there are many employers who provide you ample support allowing you to come out here and train.

So, if you have a company or employer who you think is exceeding standards in that manner, I'd like to encourage you to nominate them for the 2016 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award. This award is the highest recognition given by the U.S. Government to employers for their support of their employees serving in the Guard and Reserve.

September wrapped up suicide awareness month, and I'd like to highlight the Air Force Reserve Command's Psychological Health Advocacy Program. Reservists and their families are able to receive help for physical, mental and emotional needs through the program. PHAP is a free resource referral service that provides support for a broad variety of needs such as financial management, deployment concerns, employment assistance and mental health issues. Please visit www.phap.net for more information.

We recently received a new position in the mental health arena through the funding of a full-time psychological health counselor. Ms. Mary Arnold, director of psychological health, can be reached at 786-415-7615. She is in the process of putting together resiliency courses and will be partnering with the units to better assist them in this process. Additionally, she is in need of volunteers who want to help. If you are so inclined to pay it forward, then I encourage you to contact Mary for additional details.

Throughout the coming weeks I'll be getting to know the wing better through immersion visits and walk-abouts. So, if I pop in unexpectedly, don't be surprised because all I want to do is to meet you and just say hello. I'm looking forward to working with all of you and to continue the pace of excellence already set by each and every one here.