Commander’s Corner: Farewell 58th SOW, Team Kirtland

  • Published
  • By Col. Thomas Trask
  • 58th Special Operations Wing Commander
Men and women of Kirtland and particularly the 58th Special Operations Wing, I want to pass on my appreciation for all that you do every day. As I prepare to move on to another assignment, I wanted each of you to know how proud I have been over the past 20 months to serve next to you. It will be a sad day next week for my family and me as we hit I-40 eastbound, but the memories we will have of New Mexico and the pride I have in the work we have done will get us through it.

The last two years in the special operations and combat rescue community have been exciting to say the least. We continue to take students who walk in our door here at Kirtland with only an image in their mind of the warrior they will soon become, then send them straight to combat operations around the globe only months later with unique skills that make them invaluable on battlefield. We have brought on the Air Force's newest weapon system, the CV-22, with barely a hitch. We have worked through center wing box replacements, parts shortages, simulator modifications, loaner aircraft and numerous depot delays. Yet we have stayed on schedule and on track in each of our eight weapons systems and have frequently taken overages in student production to meet the short notice needs of the operational units. I have said it before, but let me say it here: we produce better, more highly qualified, special ops, combat rescue, and Huey crewmembers than ever before in the history of this wing.

For all Kirtland Airmen, I would urge you to keep your focus on the "long war" that we are engaged in, for as long as you choose to serve. Remember that this war was chosen by our enemies, radical terrorists who have pledged to fight for generations. Every ounce of our effort must contribute to helping our nation win that war. We will deal with budget limitations and personnel cuts to ensure that we maintain the technological advantage over our enemies. And as we do, focus on what we can do to provide air and space power for our nation, rather than what we can't do anymore. As we get smaller as a service, the job each of you do every day becomes that much more important. Thank you for you service and your dedication. Fly safe!