Continue to do great things

  • Published
  • By Col. David Kumashiro
  • 62nd Airlift Wing commander
This morning, before I sat down to work on this commentary, I was packing up some of my things in the TLF--trying to make sure I could fit everything in the car as I get ready for the long trip cross country.  There's a pretty good chance that my household goods shipment is already in Washington D.C.--my next duty station after I change command.  As with many of you, I'm pretty used to PCSing--moving from one duty station to another--sometimes expected, sometimes not.  In all honesty, I've been a part of this AF cycle of change since 1970 when I was born in Misawa AB, Japan and my father was stationed there early in his career.  In my life, this will be my eighteenth AF move--not a record by any means.  I know other Airmen and their families who have moved many more times.  For me, though, this one is a little different.  Different because of you--our Airmen, different because of what I have seen you do--through my own eyes and through the lens of a front-facing smartphone camera, different because of the immense privilege and sense of humility I feel at having been given the special opportunity to serve with you. 

In our time together, you have done some pretty cool things--great things--in service to our Nation.  And although I could spend a lot of time talking about what you have done, I'd rather spend my last commentary talking about my personal observations on the manner in which you have done it--the manner in which you have done great things.  

You have done great things by showing enormous commitment, dedication, and sacrifice to our Nation in the midst of incredibly challenging times--fewer people, fewer resources, an uncertain world with uncertain dangers.  Many would choose another path, but you have chosen to embark on a journey that only the most courageous would choose to follow.

You have done great things by caring for one another and respecting the strength of our collective diversity.  We have worked hard to embrace and not discount the richness of who we are as Airmen and to value the contributions that each individual brings to the Spirit of Team McChord--male/female, black/white, gay/straight, introvert/extrovert, Seahawks/Broncos, Seahawks/Patriots, and even Dallas Cowboys fans.

You have done great things by continuing to believe in and living our AF Core Values of Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence in All We Do.  I've seen it on the flight line, in the backshops, on the aircraft, in your work sections.  I've seen it in your leadership, in your hard work, and in your positive energy and spirit.  I've seen it in how you execute our Global Reach mission.  I've seen it in the passionate discipline you bring to the table everyday.  Most importantly, I've seen it in your eyes and in your actions and know because of it, we aspire to be better than we were the day before. 

Last week, I was out on the taxiway watching a four-ship of C-17s taking off.  In a way, I think I was trying to soak it all in--soak in the incredible things we do every day.  Pretty amazing to see a formation readying for takeoff in sequenced precision, set against the backdrop of Mount Rainier.  I don't think I'll ever get tired of it.  But as the formation was holding short of Runway 16, I didn't see the mighty C-17A Globemaster III.  Instead, as I looked at the front of the aircraft, I saw our Airmen on the flight deck.  I turned back to the flight line and hangars and saw our Airmen getting our jets ready.  I looked beyond the hangars and the trees and saw all our Airmen who make our mission happen.  I saw you. 

So as I end my tour here in the 62d Airlift Wing--the best job I have ever had--know that all of you have made me better and you have inspired me to be better.   Continue to take care of one another, continue to believe in our Core Values, and continue to do GREAT THINGS!