Commander's Comments

  • Published
  • By Col. Leslie T. Smith, Jr.
  • 120th Airlift Wing Commander
Welcome back to our November drill!

It continues to be a busy time for the 120th.  Last week, the 219th RED HORSE Squadron along with four members of our wing deployed to Southwest Asia.  It took a team effort to get them all ready and out the door and I want to say thanks to all who helped make that happen.  We wish our deployed brothers and sisters a successful deployment and look forward to seeing them return safely home in the spring.

During this UTA, you may notice a few visitors around the base.  They are members of the AMC IG Team conducting our AFIS mid-term assessment.   So now you're probably asking yourself, "Why am I just hearing about this now?"  Well, there are good reasons.  Mainly though, the intent of AFIS is to avoid having units prepare for the inspection. You can't fake compliance at the last minute by painting the grass green or putting together pretty continuity binders. Instead, the AMC team is here to evaluate the health of our own IG program and how well we inspect ourselves.  If you happened to be interviewed by the IG this weekend, I encourage you to give an honest assessment of your programs and don't be afraid to highlight deficiencies you know about.  Hiding them doesn't do you or the wing any favors.

The fall marks the beginning of the Air Force's awards season.  We began the season last month on a high note when we learned the 120th Airlift Wing received the 2014 Air Force Outstanding Unit Award for meritorious service from 1 Oct 2012 to 30 Sep 2014.  Once again, you've proven to be among the best of the best, even in the middle of a demanding unit conversion!  Your dedication and commitment enabled the Montana Air National Guard to continue to fulfill its commitment to its mission and the defense of America.   But that's not all.  Awards season continues with the announcement of our first Wing Quarterly Award winners during stand up on Friday, November 6 and nomination packages for our 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year are due later in the month.  Recognizing our very best Airmen is important and I look for forward to seeing a lot of very competitive packages. 

November 11 marks the anniversary of the signing of the Versailles Treaty and the end of World War I. For history buffs like me it's interesting to note the armistice was signed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the first Armistice Day on Nov. 11, 1919 and in 1954 Congress passed a bill establishing the day as a national holiday. Armistice Day has since become Veterans Day and now is intended to honor all veterans who have served our country. Please make a point to thank our veterans when you meet them; and it doesn't have to be just on Veterans Day.

Lastly, let's not forget that Thanksgiving is just around the corner.  Amy, Lauren, Colin and I have much to be thankful for and we want to extend our heartfelt appreciation to all Vigilantes, past and present, and their families.   Thank you for all you have done, and continue to do serving our State and Nation.

Col. Smith