Unsung heroes are reason wing excels

  • Published
  • By Col. Ken Bachelor
  • 301st Fighter Wing
Folks, I just finished emceeing the first 301st Fighter Wing awards banquet and wanted to take the time in this column to thank all of you for making it a very successful first effort. While most of the critiques I've heard have been highly positive, I did hear some critiques that were negative, hit home and were valid. I want to take the time to discuss the awards banquet, those negative critiques, and brag about our "unsung heroes" in the wing. 

The annual awards banquet was conceived and designed to recognize our people and to build camaraderie and team spirit amongst all the units in the wing. Additionally, it was designed as a "dining out" so our family members and loved ones could gain exposure into the military side of our lives and give us a chance to thank them for being part of our support team. 

Sadly, for me, it was reported that some of our members and their families left the awards banquet feeling that they, or their units, did not get the recognition they were due. For me, as the emcee, I want to take ownership for that and apologize. 

The loudest and hardest hitting critique I heard was that the awards banquet wasn't inclusive of all the units and people in our wing. The 301st FW is made up of outstanding units and its people are even more outstanding. I want to make sure you all know that you, and what you do to support our mission, are appreciated by the wing leadership. 

While the awards banquet and guest speaker concentrated mostly on our operations and maintenance units and their upcoming AEF deployment, we could have, and should have, been more inclusive of all other units and people who make up our wing. 

These are folks who do their job quietly and professionally every day with little or no fanfare -- folks who I call "unsung heroes." These folks do the jobs that some of us don't often think about; these range from our folks in the Services Flight who make sure we have something to eat and somewhere to sleep, all the way to our folks in the Logistics Readiness Squadron who take care of all kinds of "cats and dogs" to keep the mission going. They are the folks in Civil Engineer, Finance, Contracting, 301st and 701st Medical Squadrons, Military Personnel Flight, Communications, 73rd Aerial Port Squadron, Security Forces Squadron, Command Post and many other units that do a myriad of different things to make the mission a success. They often deploy for long periods of time (180 to 360-day tours are common), often by themselves to faraway places in dangerous parts of the world and ask little in return -- truly "unsung heroes" in every sense of the words -- people we should never forget, awards banquet or otherwise. 

In closing, I want us all to remember we are a wing comprised of many outstanding units that all come together to become an outstanding wing. It truly takes everyone in our wing to complete the mission; and I know, at next year's banquet, we will redouble our efforts to ensure all our units and people receive the attention and praise they deserve. Please give us another chance and reevaluate your decision to attend the next awards banquet. I promise, you and your families won't be disappointed!