Farewell with love and respect

by Col. Brian Killough
Commander, 42nd Air Base Wing

6/22/2012 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- You might think that on a family's third trip through a base they would know everyone and everything about the installation. However, I can tell you over the last two years, Sandi and I have discovered exponentially more about this great installation and come to appreciate the wonderful people that work, play and live here.

Coming in, we were determined to treat everyone as family and to set the conditions for them to succeed. This applied whether you were 42nd Air Base Wing personnel, mission partners, active duty, retired, contractor, civilian or a family member. In the process, we have grown to love and respect not only the selfless service you give to our nation, but also the friendship you extend to all who call Maxwell AFB home.

Sandi and I have cheered as you have reached new heights professionally and personally. Highly successful Health Services Inspection, Compliance Inspections, Logistics Compliance Assessment Program Inspections and numerous audits show you are ready to carry out the missions you have been assigned.

You led the way in Air Education and Training Command by developing Active Shooter procedures across one of the most diverse installations in the nation. You provided opportunities for Airmen and their families to enjoy not only our great facilities but also the outdoors and our two fantastic recreation areas. You established AETC's first wing-owned motorcycle inventory for our safety program.

Airmen and civilians deployed, and families leaned on each other together with our helping agencies. You trained more key spouses than any other AETC base and crossed service barriers to provide equal opportunities to our sister-service families.

You built a new community library, brought in a new Asian restaurant, Sakura, and coffee shop, Java J'z. The recycling program grew and vacancy rates in on-base housing shrank.

Two years ago, the Maxwell housing occupancy was 82 percent. Today, nearly 100 percent of our homes are occupied with waitlists in several categories. You moved the Maxwell Airmen's Attic to a new and much-improved location and established a Cinderella's Closet at Gunter.

You hosted more than 2,400 distinguished visitors, while also carrying a daily student load of over 4,000 at the Air University.

You implemented the Patient Centered Medical Home for our families' continuity of care and conducted medical outreach to Suriname and Peru. You established the first Maxwell Airmen Against Drunk Driving (953-2244) potentially saving more than 60 lives in the last 3 months.

Meanwhile, quietly behind the scenes, you maintained and improved this historic base.
Finally, you expanded Maxwell Elementary School to Maxwell Elementary and Middle School with the addition of seventh and eighth grades. This extended much-needed stability for our on-base youth. You accomplished all of these and more because they were the right things to do and "no" was not an option.

On the personal level, Sandi and I rejoiced and cried with you as you faced life head-on. We soared to the highest of highs with the birth of children, celebrations of weddings and graduations. We hunkered down together through the lows when we lost loved ones, saw careers come to an end or welcomed a fallen warrior home.

We jumped in together to respond to tornado outbreaks, including the worst in our nation's history. Amazingly, you morphed the tornado response into flood response as one national disaster was followed closely by another.

You embraced wounded warriors and lined the streets to pay your respects to a fallen comrade-in-arms. All of these events etched indelible imprints on our hearts and brought us closer in this wonderful River Region community.

As we leave, we know that you will carry on building and improving "The Best Hometown in the Air Force" and that you will embrace Col. Trent and Vanessa Edwards with the same warmth we have always received here. It has been an honor to serve as your commander. Thank you for selflessly sharing your gifts, talents, abilities, and families.

No Air Force member ever really says goodbye to Maxwell AFB, it is always "until the next time I return." So, until we return, Sandi, Gabbi, Caleb and I wish you every blessing and Godspeed wherever your Air Force journey leads you.