Farewell, Team Whiteman

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. - Col. John Robinson (right), 509th Bomb Wing vice commander, and Maj. Bob Bryant(center), 509th Bomb Wing executive officer, spray Chief Master Sgt. Brian Hornback, 509th Bomb Wing command chief, with champagne after his first and last flight in a B-2 bomber May 15. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Charles Larkin)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. - Col. John Robinson (right), 509th Bomb Wing vice commander, and Maj. Bob Bryant(center), 509th Bomb Wing executive officer, spray Chief Master Sgt. Brian Hornback, 509th Bomb Wing command chief, with champagne after his first and last flight in a B-2 bomber May 15. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Charles Larkin)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- While my time as the 509th Bomb Wing command chief comes to an end I can't help but reflect on you, our wing and the mission. 

The 509th BW has a proud heritage of fighting and winning and I am proud to have worn the patch of the mighty 509th twice in my career! Each and every one of you has done many a great thing towards building on that history. 

Whether responding to the call in Operation Swift Spirit, restoring our nation's confidence in the nuclear mission by being the first to host and pass a no-notice Nuclear Surety Inspection or remaining strategically vigilant in projection of nuclear deterrence around the globe; you, the men and women of this wing, epitomize the original call of 'None finer".

Whether you realize it or not, you are a role model. You wear the uniform of the fiercest and most respected fighting force in the world. When the American public see you, they see pride and professionalism, while also feeling secure and good about being an American. 

It is imperative that you maintain this image. It's what gives Americans the confidence that no matter what the mission requires, we can accomplish it. Within 30 seconds of entering a unit one can determine the standards being set by the leaders: uniform appearance; the way people sit in their chairs; whether or not they stand when an officer or superior enters the room; workplace climate--enthusiasm or apathy. 

Solid leaders will always insist on high standards, spread enthusiasm and pride in their units, attack issues and problems and strive to move their units forward. They are the units that can always say, "Mission accomplished." And that is the 509th Bomb Wing!

Your actions have a profound impact on those around you. I can still recall some of the things told to me by non-commissioned officers and senior NCOs back in the early '80s that affected my life. Small and sometimes subtle points made by them, although seemingly inconsequential to them, have been everlasting to me. 

Airmen will follow your lead and example and leadership is the key to success. It's tough to be a leader these days, but it's absolutely essential! Our Air Force expects more of you today than ever before. The American Nation, with its foundation in the idea of freedom, requires it. 

Draw from those around you the characteristics that make them good supervisors or leaders, and add them to your own character. As you grow as a leader, you will become a composite of all those qualities and establish your own leadership style. At the same time, learn from bad examples and avoid making the same mistakes.

You can rightly be proud of your wing and what you are accomplishing in these days of destiny. As you continue to support our national interests and deliver freedom around the world, remember these things: your work is important; stay focused on the mission; never forget that we are at war; and Integrity always... never sacrifice this no matter how small it may seem. 

I am proud to have served with you and it has been my distinct honor to serve as your command chief.