Moron unit exemplifies USAFE excellence

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Pamela Derrow
  • USAFE Command Chief
Part of my job as the senior enlisted member in the United States Air Forces in Europe is to travel around the command to see what work our Airmen are doing and then inform our senior leaders. I know that our Air Force is facing some great challenges, but a recent visit to a geographically separated unit in Spain showed me what a "can do" attitude can achieve with scarce resources.

The men and women of the 496th Air Base Squadron at Moron, Spain, support transient and bed-down aircraft operations; provide 24-hour, seven days a week support to aircraft and people who are participating in U.S. and NATO plans, exercises and contingency operations; provide space shuttle transoceanic abort landing and emergency landing site support; and, provide base operating support to tenant units assigned to the base. They accomplish this unique mission set with fewer than 800 Airmen, civilians and host national contractors.

I can safely say that without the work these Airmen do, often as one-deep positions doing tasks that are normally squadron-level functions at larger units, the Air Force and USAFE could not fly, fight or win. Their dedication, hard work and perseverance to get the job done are traits we all should desire to have as Airmen.

For example, in the past year the logistics flight led the onward movement of seven CORONET EAST packages without delay. The Air Traffic System Evaluation Program prep team directed two Orbiter Vehicle launches and prepared abort sites for the space shuttle, which NASA said is the best Department of Defense support site. Also, the civil engineering quality assurance flight oversaw 24 construction projects worth $12 million and kept each one on track and on budget. The lists of accomplishments are many and impressive, but become even more extraordinary when put in context with how many people are available to do these jobs.

These tasks are done by Airmen who must rise up to the challenge of performing their duties flawlessly. They take on extra responsibilities and challenges when and where needed because there isn't anyone behind them to pick up the load if they don't do it. That exemplifies Service Before Self and Excellence in All We Do.

Airmen like Senior Master Sgt. David Klink, who as the squadron first sergeant with three months on station worked hard to get to know each and every one of his people and makes life easier for the commander and the command chief. Airmen like Tech. Sgt. Kathleen Buss, who is a go-getter and fills a hole whenever a program like base honor guard or Air Force Ball needs support. Airmen like Airman Patrick Valentin, who as a young security forces member with a great attitude, must secure the base for aircraft, cargo and passengers to use while also volunteering as an honor guard member. And, Airmen like Master Sgt. Earl Jackson, who as the base communications superintendent is responsible for ensuring the base can interact with the Spanish host wing and USAFE, guarantees communications so finance transactions can take place and ensures secure contact with NASA when missions take place.

Finally, I want to thank the Moron Air Force Ball organizers for a wonderful event to celebrate our Air Force's 61st birthday. It was a great gala that served as a perfect punctuation to my trip; thank you for having me as your guest speaker. Unfortunately, I can't name every Airman I met who are doing great things, but I want you all to know that leadership recognizes and appreciates the hard work you're doing and the sacrifices you and your families make. I know at times that it may seem like your efforts for our military go unnoticed, but I can assure you that they do not.

The Airmen at Moron exemplifies the excellence that all USAFE Airmen should aspire to achieve. With the proper motivation and initiative, every USAFE Airman can make things better for their units and our Air Force. Everyone is busy and it would be busy to do just enough to meet the task at hand, but going above and beyond is what separates the good from the great. Keep up the hard work and thank you for what you do for our nation. You make me proud to be an Airman!