Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!

117 ARW Christmas Tree

117 ARW Christmas Tree at the 117th Air Refueling Wing, Sumpter Smith ANGB, Birmingham, Alabama December 20 2018. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Ken Johnson)


Wow, what a terrific year 2018 has been.  The 117th is on an awesome trajectory into 2019.  Last year was full of challenges that YOU met and dominated.  Our flight plan was and still is:

Warriors Back on Mission, Taking Care of People and Developing Tomorrow’s Leaders

You are fulfilling each of these goals beautifully!

2018 was operationally one of the busiest drill schedules that I can remember.  Squadron commanders individually led their units through numerous part task training exercises that culminated in the Nuclear Operational Readiness Exercise in late spring.  Due to YOUR hard work and professionalism, it was the last generation exercise that we needed prior to “game day” in August.  As you know, the Nuclear Operational Readiness Inspection was the best performance to date for the 117th. It earned us an extraordinary reputation within the Air Mobility Command nuclear enterprise.  It also lightened our load in the future for major command evaluations.  This in itself was an accomplishment, but YOU did it while also fulfilling other worldwide operational air refueling, intelligence gathering and domestic operations in Central Command, Pacific Command, Southern Command, Northern Command and here at home with our homeland defense and hurricane relief missions. 

I’m hearing across the Wing that we are beginning to recapture some of the “family” atmosphere again, which is awesome.  As a “family of professionals” we take care of one another with mentorship, reward, respect and also with accountability.  We must do these things and hold one another accountable for our words and deeds. We need to demand “family” loyalty.  It’s tough sometimes to make such corrections, but that’s what will make us a better Flight, Squadron and Wing.  With our manning level at 105.9 percent, it is proof that the word is getting out.  You are “Taking Care of People.” 

We have great success stories within the Wing of mentorship and bench-building.  We are filling nearly all critical positions in the 117th from within, which is proof of your work in developing quality leaders.  Airmen are completing Community College of the Air Force degrees and are completing professional military education at an increased rate despite the operational demands of the Air Force.  Particularly, many of our airmen around the staff sergeant age group are sprinting though training and education. They appear to be burning up the program.  This is a result of self-motivation on their part and the professionalism of their supervisors and commanders.  If you think today looks good, just wait, tomorrow looks even better.

In closing, please take some well-deserved time off with family and friends this Holiday season.  As cool as the things that we do every day are, it’s often at the expense of family time.  Remember that your family, whatever that network for you may be, makes your service to your community, state and nation possible.  Enjoy with them the very freedom that you defend.

I am honored every day to be your commander.  If you are deployed, you are in our thoughts and prayers every day. Please be safe.  For all -- thanks for what you do, God bless you, Merry Christmas and may 2019 be even better and safer for us all.



Col. Scott Grant

“We Fly Airplanes”

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