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Here’s to another great week at Scott AFB!

  • Published
  • By Col. Mike Hornitschek
  • 375th Air Mobility Wing commander
Spring is my favorite time of year and so I say "Here's to another great week at Scott AFB!" The weather is perfect, our base is looking fantastic with the bursts of color all over, and we're definitely seeing our activity level pick up!

First, I'd like to congratulate all the men and women who participated in Scott's first-ever ruck march on Sunday! There were 250 people who carried no less than 10 pounds and some up to 35 pounds who finished the 12.6 mile course, all of which was to mirror the annual Bataan Memorial Death March which was held the same day in the deserts of New Mexico.

Before he left, our former command chief had a vision to encourage this type of physical activity, and it's only befitting that our first march honored that special group of World War II service members who defended our territories in the Philippines. The Japanese invaded the island April 9, 1942, whereupon tens of thousands of American and Filipino soldiers surrendered and were forced to march for days in the jungles. Thousands of men died, and those who survived were held as prisoners of war. Those who survived the ordeal often had lasting, crippling effects from the brutality of their captors.

The current-day memorial march began in 1989 when an Army ROTC detachment at N.M. State University created the annual Bataan Memorial Death March to honor many of its native sons and affected members in the state. Since then the event has grown from 100 to more than 5,000 participants each year, and this year we've added an additional 250 Team Scott members!

Though I've seen a few folks limping as they recover from blisters, I've heard nothing but positive feedback, and we plan to continue to host these types of challenging events as a way to promote camaraderie, recognize our veterans' contributions to our nation and become more physically resilient. Again, great job to all who participated and who organized the event!

Then on Monday, I spent the day with an outstanding team over at the 126th Air Refueling Wing as we flew in the spectacular KC-135 Stratotanker! It was clear skies and fair winds as we took off for a routine training mission to refuel an RC-135 and it brought back fond memories of when I flew KC-10s earlier in my career. These tanker aircraft have a critical mission to perform as they extend our nation's ability to respond anywhere, anytime.

It was great to conduct this mission with our Total Force Integration partners as these Guard and active-duty crews work together each and every day. From the moment I arrived I could immediately tell there was an excellent atmosphere in their blended squadrons building. I was able to fly with Lt. Col. Chris Lanier, 906th Air Refueling Squadron, 1st Lt. Carlos Maturana, 906th ARS, and Master Sgt. Doug Doeding, 108th ARS, and wish to thank them for an outstanding sortie. They were extremely competent and professional and demonstrated the kind of showcase partnership that proves TFI is the force multiplier it was envisioned to be.

In our first change of command ceremony for 2012, we bid farewell to Army Maj. Gen. Kevin Leonard and his wife, Pam, after serving 33 years of faithful service to our nation, and welcomed Army Maj. Gen. Thomas J. Richardson and his wife, Marcia, to our Team Scott family. We're honored to serve alongside these remarkable families and to help support the mission of the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command.

Another person we're officially welcoming this week is our new command chief, Chief Master Sergeant Marty Anderson and his wife, Kim, and family who are arriving from F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo., where he just wrapped up an extremely successful tour as the 90 MW command chief. Wyoming's a great state, but you can't beat Southern Illinois/Missouri this time of year, and I know he'll quickly fit in and take the lead on the work ahead as we continue to transition throughout the early summer. It's only taking him a few days to clear his boxes, but once he's settled in we'll get him out into your units so you can get to know more about him and he can see the great work you do every day to make this base shine and mission happen!

Lastly, I'd like to thank a few dedicated folks who work to tirelessly strengthen the fabric of our base. Late last week our Master Resiliency Trainers taught their first Airman Leadership School class and our second couple's resiliency class--HUGE positive feedback from those who attended. They'll be at it again all day Friday in the Global Reach Planning Center and it's still not too late to sign up--about 100 folks are already attending. I've also got to thank my Commander's Action Group team and all the guest speakers who'll be assisting us in hosting the first-ever CGO Leadership Course this week. It's all part of our focus as we continue to grow our young officers and groom them for success not only here at the Scott Campus of Leadership University, but wherever the Air Force sends them. Our path to achieving success comes from planning and mentoring, and by positioning ourselves for opportunities for growth. We know this course will provide valuable direction and mentoring to our junior officers, so thanks also to those supervisors who supported this training effort.

Folks, these are just a few of the great things happening on our base this week. As always if you want to stay posted on our many activities, stay tuned to our public website at where you can find a calendar app that lists events, and our Facebook page: Scott Air Force Base, too for updates. Plus coming soon will be a new smart phone app that will serve as amazing tool to promote and deliver to your fingertips all the events and services happening here at Scott (I promise you'll say "Wow!" when you see this cool piece of gear). Stay tuned as more information becomes available, and stay resilient as we sprint into this spring!