“Fasten your seat belts ladies and gentlemen…”

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

All of you have heard those words from your airline captain when the airplane is encountering turbulence or rough air. Rough air is exactly what the 301st Fighter Wing has encountered these past few years. If you think back, our 44th Fighter Group at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., lived through a Category 5 hurricane and moved 98 miles west to Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. [over a two hour drive], we’ve run the gauntlet of the F-35A potential beddown, we’ve had personal tragedies, last minute deployment taskings, Operation Noble Eagle/Airspace Control Area alerts tasked at the last minute and now we are making our way through the global pandemic of COVID-19. Despite the events that have transpired, which are all out of our control, you’ve handled everything with professionalism, pride and the best resiliency imaginable. I’m proud of the way you’ve continually responded.  

With so much going on, it has made time pass quickly and it’s hard for me to believe that my time in the 301 FW is coming to a close. This has been, without a doubt, the highlight of my career. I’ve never been in a job where I looked as forward to getting to work as I did with this job and it is because of one reason...the people. The quality of individuals here is awesome, from our Airman Basics to our O-6s and everyone in between. Our civilians, our Active Duty associates, the 44 FG at Eglin AFB and everyone else... just awesome. I am in awe of what a great group you are. I learned numerous things as your commander, but the #1 thing I learned is the importance of surrounding yourself with great people, give them a mission and the resources and watch the outstanding things they do. I’ve watched that happen every day I’ve been here.

My #1 goal when I took over as your wing commander was to take care of our Airmen. We succeeded most of the time, but we also fell short a few times as well. I apologize for those instances when we failed. We can have the best equipment in the world, but if we do not have motivated, properly equipped and trained Airmen the mission will not succeed. The progress we have made in taking care of our Airmen was not something that would have been possible had it not been for our entire leadership team within the 301st and the Air Force. Maj. Generals Bruce Miller and Brian Borgen, Lt. Gen. Richard Scobee and Gen. David Goldfein believe, just like we do, that our Airmen are our most important resource and their support has been unwavering. I have no doubt the incoming 301 FW wing commander will continue to focus on taking care of all of you.

Thank you for all that you do and I am in awe of what a great wing this is. The people here are the best in the Air Force which is why the 301st is the best wing in the Air Force. I am proud to have been associated with each and every one of you.

Keep doing the great work that our nation deserves!


Colonel Mitch Hanson

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