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Thank you for your many examples of service

  • Published
  • By Col. Mike Hornitschek
  • 375th Air Mobility Wing commander
Commander's Calls are always a time I enjoy meeting the members of our team. It gives me a chance to recognize people for their extraordinary work and accomplishments, as well as thank you for your service to our nation.

We've had an overwhelming response to our Master Resiliency Training efforts, where we are providing tools to our folks and concrete ways to foster resiliency within their own work centers. Some of the comments I've heard have a common theme: "I wish I would've had this training sooner in my career." And many said they were surprised to find how useful this information has been. That excitement is generating a lot of buzz around the base.

The main idea is that resiliency starts with you and once you have a better grasp of who you are, you can focus those strengths to become a better communicator while you're helping others. Training continues throughout the wing and is being incorporated into our professional development areas as well. This is not a "program" ... much like Comprehensive Airman Fitness is not "a program." Rather, it is a way of life; a way of thinking about how we can better deal with the challenges we face.

Along with improving resiliency, we are continuing to focus on ensuring our customer service throughout the wing remains "Showcase." The customer service council and I want to recognize two great individuals who have done an outstanding job in their area of expertise.

Marty Boekers is a customer service extraordinaire who went above and beyond to meet not only his customer's needs, but also the needs of customers at all Arts & Crafts Centers. He created a newsletter highlighting sources for trophies and other recognition items, and tricks of the trade to help open an avenue for communication between engraving sections at all Air Force bases. For instance, he trained other bases on a way to make service dress name tags in minutes rather than days.

In addition, he was also instrumental in assisting a family member of Army Staff Sgt. Patrick Hamburger, one of our nation's fallen heroes from a helicopter crash in Afghanistan. He quickly created two wooden plaques along with a metal photo plate that was presented to the soldier's spouse and children the following day. Whether it is a going away or retirement gift, unit quarterly award or a gift to honor a hero, Marty takes great pride in serving the military community, and we appreciate his dedicated service.

In another example of outstanding service and support, Master Sgt. Joseph Aamodt has consistently provided invaluable service as the 375th Force Support Squadron's Mortuary Technician. His care and professional sensitivity to families have been unmatched during the most difficult times of their lives when faced with laying a loved one to rest.

Sergeant Aamodt is only required to assist families of deceased active duty members, however, he proudly volunteered and went above and beyond on short notice to assist the family of retired Col. John Massingale to reconstruct an entire ribbon rack and uniform accouterments, which he used to assemble the colonel's Class A uniform perfectly. Not only was the technical assistance of Sergeant Aamodt critical to ensuring the proper honors were completed for this former wing commander, but the numerous hours he spent with the family supporting them through this process also provided immense comfort during this emotional time.

It is indeed an honor to serve with these two members of our wing who epitomize Service Above Self. I call upon everyone in our wing to look around to see what can be done for someone else. We are still collecting donations for the Combined Federal Campaign, and we can certainly find hundreds of worthy organizations that would benefit from generous contributions. Many of these organizations not only benefit from the time we're able to give in volunteer hours, but also in the resources we're able to assist with. For everyone who donates to help meet our installation goal of $950,000, I thank you for your selfless contributions.

As we head into the Veterans Day weekend, I know many of our teammates will be participating in parades or speaking at schools or civic events. Walking alongside many of our retired veterans in many cases also gives us a chance to thank those who've gone before us. I always enjoy seeing these men and women in their uniforms of the past and see the campaigns they participated in reflected on their uniforms. Many of these veterans are our teachers, police officers, firemen, businessmen and neighbors. Whether they wear the uniform today or wore it decades ago, they represent an unwavering dedication and exemplify the highest ideas of service to our nation.

We are very fortunate to have service members who exemplify commitment to duty, willingly display valor under fire, and favor humility over glory. This notion of selflessness and sacrifice--the likes of which are exhibited each and every day by Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen--is the bedrock of our all-volunteer force.

To our veterans--our service members of all ages--who have engaged in combat, stability, and humanitarian operations--we honor you. To those service members who paid the ultimate price or who are still missing or unaccounted for--we honor you by remembering the sacrifices you and your families made for our great nation, and I ... we all say ... a most deep and appreciative "Thank You!"