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Remembering 9/11, This week at MacDill…

  • Published
  • By Col. Lenny Richoux
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing commander
Last weekend we had the opportunity to remember the events of Sept. 11, 2001. My family participated in "Freedom Walk Tampa," walking two miles along Bayshore Drive to commemorate the events of Sept. 11, 2001. Two of my three children were not even born yet on that day; Michele and I remind them each year of the good that came from that day -- how the American Spirit was never so strong and the nations of the world stood behind us. I am very proud to be an American and to serve alongside each of you. On Saturday and Sunday, I observed the Airmen of the 6th AMW and 927th ARW rehearsing their "Ability To Survive and Operate" procedures at Thunder Village, our local training area. It was very hot and humid; I was proud to see you all take your training so seriously as we raise the bar on combat readiness. I wanted to give a shout out to Mr. Dave Cresswell, Master Sgt. Gene Strassner, Master Sgt Darius Drummond and Tech. Sgt. Caren Price, outstanding performers last weekend at Thunder Village. Our operational tempo of scheduled exercises and inspections is keeping most of us working at optimal capacity this month. The next scheduled exercises are Sept. 18-21, for the Nuclear Operational Readiness Exercise and Sept. 22-29 for the Operational Readiness Exercise. During this period, a challenge will be maintaining the balance of physical and mental wellness. We, as leaders at every level are responsible for each other. Make an effort to familiarize yourselves and others with resources that are available for wellness and morale maintenance. The MacDill Chaplaincy is a great place to start. I had a chance last week to speak at the Chapel's Marriage Enrichment Seminar "Building a Strong Marriage Team". The Chapel coordinated with the Child Development Center to provide childcare services for couples who went out on an evening date after the seminar. I want to thank the Chapel Religious Support Team, Chaplain (Capt.) John Choi and Staff Sgt. Elizabeth Stewart, Chaplain Assistant, for supporting our service members, spouses and families with resources like this. Brenda Holms, the Budget Office Flight Chief and her team directed funding to the Force Support Squadron for purchase of a portable sound system, TV and movie screen, and lounge umbrellas for the recently re-opened pool. This is a great recreation enhancement for the families and service members who perform the mission here. Two technicians in the 6th Medical Group making a difference by providing expert medical care were recently credentialed with national certifications. Staff Sgt. Courtney Vitamvas, NCOIC of Optometry and Senior Airman Michelle Zander, Opthalmic Technician, were awarded certifications as Paraoptometric Technicians by the American Optometric Association. Great work--keep it up. I also want to welcome home 6th Security Forces Squadron's Senior Airman William Vernon back from his tour in Iraq. He was a part of the 732d Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron performing duties as an M-240 machine gunner, trainer to the Iraqi police and was selected to the team responsible for safeguarding this year's Iraqi government elections. Recently the actions of a 6th Operational Support Squadron and the 310th Airlift Squadron team saved a mission that left the USSOUTHCOM Commander and five general officers stranded in Panama City, Panama. Recognition for the save goes to Staff Sgt. Jon German, Mr. Marcus Holling, Capt. Danny Britton, Maj. Larry Silverman, Lt. Col. Pat Thompson and Lt. Col. Dan Axlund. This team's support was critical to allowing the aircraft and crew to take off within 90 minutes of the decision being made to launch. Staff Sgt. Cory Cuadrado, 6th Maintenance Squadron NCOIC Nondestructive Inspection Laboratory, recently underwent an Air Force NDI Program Office inspection. Their assessment revealed the exceptional level of technical professionalism and dedication he and his staff demonstrate daily. We are all proud of your accomplishments. Keep up the good work. I would also like to emphasize the importance of our cultural observations. We are celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with the Oct. 8, Hispanic Heritage Luncheon. The point of contact is Master Sgt. Ivan Crespo, and he's been doing an excellent job drumming up participation. Please check out the advertisement in the paper for specific dates and times of the upcoming celebration. I encourage you all to support this important commemoration. The Summer season is about over and Fall is around the corner. Thank you all for keeping each other safe over the Summer. The Fall presents its own safety challenges; keep safety in mind on and off duty, at home and at work. I am, again, very proud to serve with you in the finest Air Mobility Wing on the face of the planet! Keep up the great work.