Thank you

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- There is no better time than the first of a new year to look back and see how far we've come. No one will argue that 2013 was tough, with furloughs, sequestration, the government shutdown, changes in leadership, and the ever present "do more with less" mentality that we've come to expect in the military. I thought long and hard about what I wanted to say to you all -- something profound that would motivate and inspire, like some catchy phrase on a t-shirt or in a hashtag. After I ran through all the corny sayings that came to mind, I realized there was a much simpler way to sum up the way I feel about this base, and all the amazing people who keep this place running...Thank you.

Each and every one of you deserves a big personal thank you for the professional and graceful way you handled all the turmoil of the past year. As we continue onward to face the challenges ahead of us in 2014, I know for a fact that the 30th SW will prosper in the hands of the great men and women serving on this installation. I've been continually amazed by the teamwork and ingenuity that have overcome many speed bumps that curtailed not only our operations tempo, but also our overall quality of life. Amidst the cut to temporary duty assignments, training budgets, permanent change of station delays, and impossible staffing drawdown, who will forget the hum of the lawnmowers of the many volunteers when we lost our grounds maintenance contract? Bottom line...we pulled together and made it work. After all the great speeches about leadership and being a good wingman die down in the days to come, I want you to keep one prevailing theme in mind: There is no better time than now to stop and say thank you to your co-workers, your support staff, and most importantly to your family and friends.

And finally, I'd like to ask one big favor of each and every one of you -- please, reach out and check-in with folks as we begin to experience a vast resource drain with increased force management initiatives, retirement and pay strategies, and many other government programs coming down the pike that will challenge and test us all. Stays informed and ask questions. Keep your eyes and ears open for signs that someone may be struggling. Look for opportunities to make the daily churn just a little better in some small way. Keep in mind that some days the power of a simple thank you can make all the difference.