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Summertime leave schedules & Showcase Standouts!

  • Published
  • By Col. David L. Almand
  • 375th Air Mobility Wing commander
Summer can be a challenging time as we all try to take those well-earned vacations with the family yet keep the mission going each week. It can be tough to look out the window at all the kids swimming in the pool when you're in the office cranking out reports or hosting inspectors ... or holding down the fort while others are gone with their families and enjoying some richly deserved down time.

Taking time for family requires planning and effort, but it can be done and must be done to ensure we're achieving the right balance in our lives! I'm especially sensitive to our Airmen who've been deployed and perhaps have racked up use-or-lose leave, so now's the time to make sure our teams are being taken care of and don't lose these entitlements.

I ask that you look at your leave balance and see how much you are accumulating, and ask that you look at taking some of the time now, while we're still in preparation mode for the many events coming up in September and the fall. Once we're in execution mode, it will be tough to allow our teammates to go when we need you for the air show, the Air Force Ball, Retiree Appreciation Day and other wing events such as our Operational Readiness Exercise in October. Normally that is the time when your leave will accumulate to a use-or-lose status, and I'm asking you as individuals and as commanders, supervisors and Wingmen to ensure your teammates are managing their leave appropriately and wisely now.

While our teammates take much needed time with families, I wish to thank those of you who are staying behind to keep supporting the Scott AFB mission and its customers. There are young Airmen doing the work of three or four due to deployments or augmentee duty while others are on leave status. We have more than 700 Airmen deployed throughout the world holding the line. Thank you all for keeping focused and steady with our important mission.

Meanwhile I'd like to start a new section to my commentaries called "Showcase Standouts," which is to give you all a huge thank you for what you are doing each day for our mission and for each other.

There have been so many activities these past few weeks, so I'd like to start with thanking all the wonderful community members from Shiloh and O'Fallon who hosted a wonderful Salute to Scott day on June 9 with free food and activities. I know many hands were involved organizing the event, but a special shout out to Mayor Gary Graham, Mayor Jim Vernier, and the O'Fallon-Shiloh Chamber of Commerce for their efforts and support.

A huge thanks to the 375th Force Support Squadron. Their team worked months to put together a top notch family picnic for us June 15. It was the largest turn out ever and the amount of sponsored goodies and giveaways also broke records! Thank you for a tremendous job by the entire FSS team and all those in the Mission Support Group and volunteers who worked behind the scenes to make it a truly enjoyable event.

It wasn't just me who thought the base picnic was super, but many of our tenant units and partners as well. One highlight was seeing the truck that honored the fallen Marine Lance Cpl. Phillip Vinnedge with a truly one-of-a-kind airbrush mural. You can read more about it in the paper this week on page A1 or on our public website at His brother, Corey, was on hand to answer questions and talk to people throughout the day! It was a moving tribute and we're so privileged to have had members of the Vinnedge family with us.

Last week, I also had the great pleasure of hosting the St. Louis Blues senior management team for a tour of the base, and as soon as I knew they were coming, I invited Staff Sgt Joshua Hartline from the 375th Operations Support Squadron to join us for a photo opportunity. We met with Marty Brooks, executive vice president and general manager, Scottrade Center; Doug Armstrong, executive vice president and general manager, St. Louis Blues; David Iacono, manager building operations, Scottrade Center/St. Louis Blues; Ray Bennett, assistant coach, St. Louis Blues; Ken Hitchcock, head coach, St. Louis Blues; and Tom Stillman, principal owner & chairman, St. Louis Blues. It was great to share our mission with them and hope to collaborate on some exciting events in the future.

Another thank you goes to great C-21 aircrews who know how to impress! Maj. Jason Gray and Capt. Austin Noble with the 375th Operations Support Squadron, flew with our Air Mobility Commander, Gen. Raymond Johns, Jr., who was thoroughly impressed with their professionalism and expertise. They were lauded for their teamwork and passion for the mission! Way to represent the 3-7-5 with Showcase Pride!

A huge thanks also goes out to Capt. (Dr.) Jason Susong of the 375th Aerospace Medicine Squadron who went above and beyond to check on a patient who was being treated at a local hospital. This unexpected visit was both comforting and pleasing to the patient and shows how much our team really cares about each other.

Thanks to all of you for making me so proud to be part of this team. I look forward to catching more of you in action as we put the "show" in "showcase."