"The best of the best of the best, Sir!"

  • Published
  • By Col. Mitchell Hanson, 301st Fighter Wing Commander

Can any of you recall what movie that line comes from? Some of the more “seasoned” members of the wing, like me, probably remember the scene from the original Men in Black movie (1997).  I will not recant the story, but it is comical. However, as corny as it sounds, that’s exactly how I feel about the men and women of the 301st Fighter Wing who make the mission happen here every day… you simply are the best!

We constantly have individuals deployed around the globe in support of various missions and operations. That’s what we do and I appreciate what you do for our nation. This summer we supported had two major operations: Immediate Response 19 (IR 19) which was supported by the 301st Medical Squadron and Dacian Viper 19 which the 301 MXG and 301 OG/457FS/355FS supported. Both operations were resounding successes thanks to the hard work of not only those who deployed but also of those who assisted in getting our men and women ready to deploy.

IR 19 took place in Maribor, Slovenia during the month of May. 27 MDS personnel deployed with members of other military units to conduct a mass-casualty exercise to demonstrate capabilities and interoperability with Slovenian counterparts. During this exercise, there were 72 simulated casualties that were effectively triaged, treated and evacuated. Additionally, four of our MDS members provided real world medical support to the Polish Special Operations Forces during a high altitude low opening, HALO, air drop. Col. Lawson Copley, 301 FW MDS commander, summarized that the medical team demonstrated a positive attitude, sustained motivation, and exemplary teamwork while deployed. Well done MDS, well done.

Dacian Viper 19 was a part of the much larger multi-national exercise that took place this summer in Eastern Europe. Approximately 300 personnel from our wing participated and deployed to Campia Turzii, Romania for 100 days as part of that Theater Security Package 19.1 (TSP). The TSP is a U.S. Department of State directed mission, not just another deployment or temporary duty, TDY. Our team of professionals deployed to Europe to work with NATO member Romania to deter regional aggression while strengthening relations with our Romanian partners. Our pilots and maintenance professionals did a superb job doing just that. They worked with the Romanian Air Force, as well as the Italian Air Force, by flying in opposition to and in support of both. Our pilots demonstrated their flying skills while our maintainers showcased their skills at professionally maintaining 34-year-old jets. The feedback I received from the Romanian base commander, U.S. Air Force Europe leadership, as well as the 52d Fighter Wing commander, have been nothing but outstanding. Great work everyone!

These are only two examples of why I continually say the 301st is the best. It’s not the individual that makes this possible. It’s because of the teamwork you continue to show day in and day out. The men and women who deployed from the 301 MDS, MXG, OG, 457FS, and 355FS could not have done this by themselves. The people from various shops like FSS, LRS, and MDS got them ready to deploy, deployed them and are now finally finishing re-deploying our Airmen back home. Thank you.

The mission of the 301st Fighter Wing is to train and deploy combat-ready Airmen. Thank you for doing just that and hitting the mark!  

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