Warriors kick start 2007

  • Published
  • By Col. Diane Hull
  • 319th Air Refueling Wing commander
We are only seven weeks into 2007, yet the wing's already seen an unprecedented level of activity. We've hosted and participated in several massive events, welcomed back many Airmen from deployments and highlighted our efforts to numerous distinguished guests. The Warriors of the North have shown that Grand Forks AFB can handle every challenge, even in below zero temperatures.

In January, the 319th Services Squadron hosted the wildly popular Super Bowl Extravaganza, kicking off the New Year in style. On the heels of that event came the Air Force Services Eubank evaluation team's visit, which determined if Grand Forks AFB has the best small base services program in the entire Air Force. We expect to hear the results in March.

Maj. Gen. James Hawkins, 18th Air Force commander, paid us a visit in early January and helped cut the ribbon for the new Fast Eddie's coffee shop at the Community Activity Center. Then, Brig. Gen. Frederick Roggero, Air Mobility Command's Deputy Director of Air, Space and Information Operations, came here for a safety mishap briefing and also attended our Martin Luther King Jr. luncheon. Two weeks later, Gen. Duncan McNabb, Air Mobility Command commander, saw firsthand how our Airmen keep the flying mission operating during the cold, snowy North Dakota winter months.

Last week, the other 18th Air Force active duty tanker units visited us for the Tanker Winter Symposium. Maj. Gen. Quentin "Pete" Peterson, director of operations for AMC, served as the keynote speaker at the symposium's banquet and was one of many who got a taste of our true winter conditions.

This past weekend, Senator Byron Dorgan had a brief base tour and got to interact with several of our Airmen. I can tell you that all these distinguished visitors have walked away thoroughly impressed by our professionalism and commitment to excellence.

Despite being so busy, our commitment to the war-fighting effort is as strong as ever. Right now, four of our tanker crews and 50 other support personnel are the lead tanker unit at Red Flag, helping prepare our forces and our allies for combat.

In the midst of all this activity, many of our Airmen have returned to their families after long overseas deployments. I applaud them for a job well done during their deployment and welcome them back to Grand Forks. Like their friends and families, the entire base is glad to see them back home.

I'm tremendously proud of this wing and its people. We're continuously presented with a whole assortment of challenges, yet we always answer the call. The men and women of this great base serve constant reminders that only the best come north. Well done!