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120th Operations Group Commander Col. Patrick Hover.

120th Operations Group Commander Col. Patrick Hover.

GREAT FALLS, Mont. -- "Tweet!" (sound of a whistle blowing) Whew, what a year.
     It is truly amazing what you all have accomplished during the last year of "conversion".
     It is natural to get so busy in the day-to-day processes, prepping for the next tasking, the next drill, the next deployment, or the next move that we tend to focus on the rocks in the trail and miss the overall view.  It's easy to lose sight of all that we have accomplished and take for granted all we have been blessed with. So let's take a moment to reflect on what's happened in just the last year and think about our future.
     Operations flew 24 joint airborne/air transportability training missions, five major exercises, 15 of the JA/ATTs were in direct support of special operation forces, 3229 personnel were dropped, and 197.1 tons of cargo were dropped. The wing will also finish out 150 hours above the Air National Guard eight C-130 primary assigned aircraft standard of 1860 flight hours with a total of 2010 hours.
     The aerial port processed 435 passengers and 13 Space "A" passengers and rigged everything we threw out the back of the planes.
     The medical group processed over 400 fit for duty appointments and numerous flight physicals.  
     We processed a 219th RED HORSE Squadron deployment, security forces deployment, 3 yellow ribbon events, numerous family programs events, and finance processed 3050 Defense Travel System vouchers (up from 2246 during the previous fiscal year!) 
     The Inspector General Office and Wing Inspection Team completed nearly 40 inspections and identified over 200 areas of undetected non-compliance. 
     Our wing won the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award again!  Amazing support and awesome effort! That's a lot to do in one year and all shops pitched in, in their own way, to make it happen. This was a true display of our cooperation and work ethic.
     Additionally, all of this occurred while still full swing in conversion, without maintenance facilities to support flying operations and countless numbers of our folks were still maturing in their newly assigned AFSCs. This is a testament to what this wing can accomplish as a team.
     We've added a drop zone at Malmstrom Air Force Base and are securing additional landing zones, drop zones and infrastructure, like ramp expansion here on base to become a world-class training venue for C-130s
     All of this effort comes at a cost. The tempo in many areas has been extremely high and I have witnessed the stress that puts on the team, but you have all responded in a truly professional and resilient manner.
     Additionally, this last year we have endured some tragedies and personal hardships that have taken a toll on us all. I always say that the relationships we have with others in the unit are our greatest strength and can be our greatest weakness! 
     Those relationships that we have with our co-workers and within our organization need to have boundaries that are healthy and professional. It's when those lines get blurred or overstepped that trouble can ensue.  
     We are a family, sometimes a bit quirky, but a family nonetheless. I have seen it demonstrated over and over again in my almost 31 years of being a part of this great unit. Continue to back each other and stay engaged; we have phenomenal resources for our Airmen in this wing, use them!
     As we declare end of conversion and look toward our first aviation deployment involving over 18 percent of our wing we need to remember what makes us strong, what we have accomplished together, and what we strive to be, simply stated, "The Best".  That strength comes from teamwork, and a sense that we are engaged in, and a part of, something bigger than ourselves. 
     We strive to answer the call, we always have and we always will.  If there is one unit out there that I would bet my life on to come through in a time of need or crisis it is this unit-that will never change. 
     Our future is as bright as we make it. Together, take this deployment and all future deployments/taskings/challenges head on and show them what we can accomplish as a team.  God speed to all, be safe, be there for each other and your families, communicate, and ensure you're doing your part to contribute to the mission and goals of "Team Montana". I like the sound of that!
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