Chief's Corner: Farewell Team Kirtland, thanks for everything

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Paul Sikora
  • Nuclear Weapons Center Command Chief Master Sergeant
I'd like to thank Colonel Suminsby for offering up this week's Commander's Corner to me so I can make some final comments as I depart for Fairchild AFB, Wash. I have been truly blessed with great bosses since I've been here, and this is just another example of the teamwork I've been allowed to share with them. As I look back on my two years here in the Nuclear Weapons Center, I feel a great sense of pride at all we have accomplished in our three primary missions.

Last year, we established the NWC, which is charged to safeguard and maintain our nation's most valued assets - we proved that when we completely dominated four Nuclear Surety Inspections, two here at Kirtland and two at our geographically separated unit at Nellis AFB, Nev. The results speak for themselves, and I think we can all be proud for what we are doing for our nation.

Our second mission is to ensure our people are trained and prepared for their expeditionary roles. The work our logistics readiness squadron and security forces units have done with their local combat skills course ensured all of our Airmen were ready to meet those challenges. We have deployed hundreds of Kirtland's Airmen and have had some scrapes and bruises, but everyone came back alive, and for that I am grateful. As testimony to how well we do business, all you need to do is look at the unprecedented ratings we received in our operational readiness inspection ... the inspectors couldn't sing our praises enough!

Our last mission is to provide world-class base support for the 26,000 people who live and work on Kirtland. We established the Kirtland Against Drunk Driving program that provided rides to over 700 Airmen and reduced DUIs by 48 percent since its inception. We also built a new Airman's Attic that served almost 12,000 families in the year and a half it's been open. I'm especially proud of the things we did to make our enlisted force stronger. We executed our first-ever enlisted dining in, established a dormitory council, built a new enlisted lounge at the Mountain View Club and were the first in Air Force Materiel Command to execute an Airman Professional Enhancement Course; the dividends for all these efforts were increased retention rates on Kirtland for the first time since Sept. 11.

The things I will miss most are the relationships I've developed both in the community and on Kirtland. Our various units, private organizations and community partners are so vibrant - I have a hard time believing that any other command chief can match the joy and pride I feel for them. I have been truly blessed by knowing all of you, and I am a better leader and man because of all of you. To steal a line from Colonel Feehan, you all have "my deepest respect!"