“This too shall pass away. Never fear.”

  • Published
  • By Col. Matthew Fritz
  • 44th Fighter Group Commander

Nearly 16 months have passed since Hurricane Michael devastated Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. and its surrounding communities. Members of 44th Fighter Group here continue to deal with the aftermath and long lasting effects of the storm in their own way. Some want their old lives back, some like their new lives and some are slightly indifferent.  Regardless of any of those perspectives, I think all members of the 44 FG are just tired of thinking about it. I believe everyone just wants to know what the future holds, move on and put Hurricane Michael in the rear-view mirror.  

Along with the personal struggles of rebuilding homes and lives, many professional struggles come with being in a temporary duty status (working your normal job at a different location short-term) for well over a year. How a person deals with struggles and adversity is character defining. From what I have observed over the past year, my Airmen have exhibited character that makes my heart swell with pride. In the face of multiple frustrations and distractions, the women and men of the 44 FG have displayed grace and resilience under pressure by showing up at work each day and crushing it!

The 44 FG remains to be the topic of many operational and financial conversations throughout Air Force Reserve Command. I would like those conversations to end and life to return to normal (or the new normal) as much as anyone. However, there is still a bumpy road to navigate which will require three virtues: patience, perspective and perseverance. 

Depending on how “recovery” is defined, it takes five years or longer for communities to fully recover from most natural disasters.  Our group is anxiously awaiting a future mission decision in order to plan our lives and our own personal recoveries. The waiting is always the hardest part and perseverance will play a key role in a smooth transition to normal operations and lifestyles.

The title of this article is a quote attributed to our 16th U.S. President Abraham Lincoln. His life was a lesson in virtue as well as perspective and perseverance.  He endured a long series of professional defeats and personal losses. Without an undying determination, his historical impact and enduring legacy would have never been possible.

The women and men of the 44 FG and their families are a case study in the virtues mentioned above. I’m truly proud of the personal and professional accomplishments they achieve daily. I’m honored to have the opportunity to serve alongside them through trying times and observe how they have risen to every challenge. I’m truly inspired by the human spirit of our personnel.

I’m highly confident the members of the 44 FG will retain the drive and determination inherent over the past 16 months, which will add to the group’s enduring legacy and enhance its rich history. I’m excited for the future. The most difficult days are nearly behind us… “This too shall pass away. Never fear.”

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