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Outstanding 2008 – Looking forward to an Outstanding 2009

January 2009 -- Welcome to 2009!

For the 108th Air Refueling Wing, 2008 was a busy year. We sent our Airmen around the world - and they returned to us safe and proving that the 108th ARW leads the way in by doing the job above and beyond what is asked.

The 108th Security Forces Squadron sent some of its Airmen to Iraq. There, for the first time the Air Guard was charged with commanding a multi-component, multi-national security force. Lt. Col. Ron Turk commanded Air Guard, active duty Air Force, Army and a contracted security component to secure Sather Air Base. And, as we have come to expect, the completed job was stamped, "Outstanding."

We continually deploy our 108th Airmen to places such as Kuwait, Qatar, Manas, Kyrgyzstan, United Arab Emirates, and places here in the United States - all of them working to keep our country, our neighbors and our families safe. I am proud of the fact that we have filled more than 4,400 positions since Sept. 11 in support of Operations Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom and Jump Start. Outstanding!

We have also seen the furling of the colors of the 150th Air Refueling Squadron during our December UTA. The history of the 150th goes back to 1956 and covers aircraft with names like Commando, Boxcar, Constellation, Caribou and of course, Stratotanker. With all those planes and pilots and crew members, one outstanding note is that in more than 52 years of service, the unit had more than 170,250 hours of accident-free flying. Outstanding!

The contributions of the 150th Air Refueling Squadron will not be forgotten.
The 108th Contingency Response Group unfurled their colors during the same ceremony. With a new mission and Airmen coming from all around the wing to join together to perform their tasks, the CRG is already 83 percent manned and well on its way to certification and its first mission. Col. Robert Brazel and the CRG will become one of the jewels of the 108th. Outstanding!

A round of applause goes out to Lt. Col. Dave LaTOUR and the men and women of the 227th Maintenance Flight on their hard work. They did a fantastic job to become the first IOC and then FOC in eight short months. They worked long and hard to transition from a contract maintenance unit to our own "blue suit" maintenance group supporting the C-32B aircraft. Outstanding!

The wing completed its conversion to the KC-135R block 40 engine. I thank all of you for the hard work to get to that tremendous accomplishment. Outstanding!

Our 108th Civil Engineer Squadron has won the Air National Guard William L. Deneke Award as the Outstanding Civil Engineer Unit. The squadron will be go on to compete against the Air Force Reserve Command for recognition as the Air Force Outstanding Unit of the Year - ARC category. Good Luck and Outstanding!

As we go into 2009, we look forward to the changes we will see. In order to recognize the new and diverse mission set of the 108th, the name will change from the 108th Air Refueling Wing to the 108th Wing.

We will rename the 227th SOF to the 150th SOS. This will give them the lineage and history of the 150th's distinguished flying record and also recognize them as a full squadron.

The 227th lineage will be passed down to the 177th Fighter Wing, allowing the 177th ASOS to become the 227th ASOS when it stands up in 2009.

In 2009 we will see the official standup of the 204th MAFIS. This new unit is already 75 percent manned and on target to become FOC (please spell out) in 2009.

This summer we will mobilize nearly 3,300 Airmen for AEF 9/10 and deploy to the CENCOM. We are no longer a strategic reserve but an operational component of the total force.

The wing will be working hard to prepare for the upcoming Unit Compliance Inspection in September. I know that everyone has a lot on their plate to ensure they are ready when the inspectors walk in the doors. If you need help, ask and we will do our best to make you succeed.

I look forward to the hard work, camaraderie and successes we will see in this New Year. And may we be able to say Outstanding at year's end.