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Farewell … connecting the dots

  • Published
  • By Col. Kevin Webb
  • 375th Air Mobility Wing vice commander
As with so many others this summer, my family and I are headed for our next assignment--for us to Georgia--and I just wanted to take a few minutes to share some thoughts about the time we've spent here.

I'm so honored and blessed to have served as your 375th AMW vice commander; it clearly is the highlight of my career. This position opened doors of opportunity for me and my family to meet and work with some remarkable people, both in the surrounding communities and here on base. As I look back at my time spent at Scott AFB, I have an unbelievable collection of experiences that I'll take with me as we move on.

I've worked for three tremendously talented wing commanders, Col. Gary Goldstone, Col. Mike Hornitschek and now Col. Dave Almand. I learned so much from them, and I'm a better officer and person due to their direct mentorship and friendship over the past two years. Of course each of them had their own unique leadership style and approach to command, consequently, I benefited from seeing their proven methods of critical thinking in action each and every day. I was fortunate to personally observe up-close how they all brilliantly led this wing to success after countless success. One common factor between all three, they were tirelessly passionate about taking care of our Airmen and their families . . . our No. 1 asset.

I was fortunate to work with the best wing command chiefs in the Air Force as well--Chief Master Sgts. Jim Suttles, Kevin Candler and now Marty Anderson. These gentlemen are clear examples of why our Air Force is the best in the world. The business of leading a wing is a team effort; they never failed to provide sage advice to the commander, they always took care of the Airmen, and they constantly exceeded expectations of the role they filled. This wing is privileged to have had each of them at the helm during some very challenging times.

The group commanders, group superintendents, squadron commanders and first sergeants simply made things happen. I watched with amazement as they handled every difficult task placed in their path. No challenge was too great for them to overcome. Of course money and manpower always seems to be in short supply, but their decisive vision and creativity enabled the wing to look for the good stuff and move forward, keeping focused on mission first . . . people always. Our wing chaplains and helping agencies quietly go about their business ministering and supporting the entire base population with little recognition. Thank you for the job you do every day to impact our members on a personal level. You bring peace to those who truly need it and yet don't always know how to go about attaining it.

The 375th AMW is also blessed to have wonderful partners in our Total Force Integration relationship here. Our relationship is stronger than ever and will only grow stronger due to the baseline of friendship we currently share. I look forward to continuing our relationship as I start my new job at Air Force Reserve Command headquarters next month.

I'm leaving Scott AFB with a heavy heart because I'll miss every one of you who impacted me personally, sometimes in small yet powerful ways. I've been stationed here three times during my career. As a captain I served at the 618th Air and Space Operations (TACC) and in Air Mobility Command's A1 directorate. As a major I served at USTRANSCOM/J3 and at the 18th Air Force. As a lieutenant colonel I served at AMC in the Commander's Action Group, and as a colonel I served as your vice commander.

It's not necessarily the jobs I held that shaped my career and life, more importantly, it was the people I worked for and served with. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was a captain here in 1996, but it is very, very clear looking back now as I depart this time. Each of these dots, these jobs, these opportunities, these people, better prepared me to serve as vice commander and hopefully make a small impact on others. Steve Jobs once said, "You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something--your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever."

I trust that each of you, from our youngest Airman to our most senior officers and enlisted here will have an impact on our Air Force and on the lives of those who proudly wear our uniform for decades to come. True, we can't connect the dots right now, but it will certainly be amazing to look back 10 years from now and see the impact you've had ... and clearly see how you connect the dots.

Serving you in this position at Scott AFB is more than I could have ever dreamed of as a kid from South Georgia. I wish everyone the best for the future, I thank you for the touching farewell you've given my family, and for all of the wonderful experiences we've shared together.