Commander’s Corner: Have a happy holiday, and don’t forget to come back safely – we need you!

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, New Mexico -- This is the time of year when we traditionally take stock of our trials, tribulations, and accomplishments, and remember the things we have to be thankful for, especially the people who enrich our lives. The anticipation of spending time with them makes the season joyful for most of us.

We have much to be proud of this year, especially the noble sacrifices of our fellow Airmen deployed around the world. Please spare a few moments in your busy holiday schedules to mention their courage and dedication to others who may not be in the same situation we are -- daily aware of their absence and the knowledge that wherever they are, their Air Force family is looking after their needs.

At this time of year, many of us choose to take our well-earned time off and travel to be with loved ones. Please be safe and take into consideration the sometimes-unavoidable factors which may slow down or interrupt your plans ... bad weather, shortened daylight hours, hectic schedules and fatigue. Every year we read about some poor souls who spend eight or ten hours snarled in traffic on a snow-bound Interstate Highway. Remember, none of those people set out that day with that in mind! Be safe, plan ahead and expect the unexpected.

When you reach your destination, or even if you stay close to home, enjoy time with friends and family, but don't try to fit too much into your schedule ... take time to relax.

Many challenges await us in the year ahead, and we will need everyone's best efforts. It is mission-essential that everyone on Team Kirtland return safely and ready to take up our obligations with energy and enthusiasm so that we may perform as we expect ourselves to: with excellence in all we do.

Happy holidays to everyone. I am looking forward to spending time with the outstanding members of Team Kirtland in the New Year.