Be prepared to meet the challenge

  • Published
  • By Col. Shane Hershman
  • 62nd Airlift Wing vice commander
This past weekend McChord celebrated the Air Force's birthday. I want to thank Capt. Mark Barbire and the entire Air Force Ball committee for a wonderful event. Hangar 3 has never looked so good. I enjoyed seeing so many of you and your spouses relaxing and having fun together.

As we gear up for the upcoming Air Expeditionary Force deployments, many McChord Airmen will head out the door to serve on the frontlines of the Global War on Terror. This means many of you will leave your family to carry on at home while you serve your country overseas.

The Air Force has created AEF cycles so our Airmen have time to prepare themselves and their families for deployments. While you should always have a plan to take care of your family if you need to deploy on short-notice, the AEF affords most people time to plan for the separation.

Because of that advance notice, many Airmen may be tempted to wait until the last minute to prepare for a deployment. However, it's important to remember that you are responsible to be ready to deploy at any time.

That's part of your commitment as an Airman. On average, 600 McChord Airmen are serving from somewhere other than the Pacific Northwest every day. We're an expeditionary force, and you need to ensure you and your family are ready for what that means.

I know you have all heard the phrase, "The Air Force is like a family." Though we're spread all over the globe, we remain tied to each other and we take care of each other. I hope you all know when you deploy, you're not leaving your loved ones alone. They're part of the McChord family.
Your entire chain of command, including me, will help take care of them while you are away.

Airmen are filling roles and tasks we never filled in the past, and they're adapting to these roles with the excellence we've come to expect from America's Air Force. There is no Air Force Specialty Code for a convoy driver or a detainee prison guard, but Airmen are eagerly stepping up to meet the challenges of these new tasks. The Air Force provides the training and you, the Airmen, provide the passion that makes it impossible for terrorists to win.