Heroes of the Air Force Reserve:
This past year has tested us all, both as individuals and as a team. In the face of each challenge, you have inspired the Command Chief and me with your seemingly endless reservoirs of resilience.
Every step of the way, you have answered the call to take care of our fellow Americans in their most dire times of need. You volunteered for deployments that were extended, served on the frontlines of the pandemic and stepped up to help neighbors in your own communities. As if that weren’t enough, you’ve also responded to record breaking hurricane and wildfire seasons.
While your resilience may seem bottomless from an outside perspective, it is important to take time periodically to refill those reservoirs. During the holidays, I hope you take some well-deserved down time to spend with those people who are most important to you, whether in person or virtually.
Social connectedness is an incredibly important part of Comprehensive Airman Fitness, along with mental, physical and spiritual fitness. The pandemic has made maintaining these connections all the more challenging. It has also hindered me from doing my favorite part of the job – spending time with you at your units.
Rest assured, even though I have not been able to see nearly as many of you as I would have liked, the health, safety and wellbeing of you and your families has been at the forefront of my mind over the past year.
Along with celebrating with our families, this time of year also provides us an opportunity to chart the course for the next year. The Chief of Staff of the Air Force recently published a paper, Accelerate Change or Lose, that introduces his vision for the future of our Air Force.
I encourage each of you to take a few minutes to read it, and to understand General Brown’s plan to ensure the U.S. Air Force will be able to provide the nation both the combat-ready Airmen and decisive capabilities required for a future high-end fight.
Not surprisingly, our own strategic priorities in the Air Force Reserve - prioritizing strategic depth and accelerating readiness, developing resilient leaders, and reforming the organization - align well with the framework set by General Brown.
We will continue to remain in lock step with our Total Force partners while doing what we do best – providing combat power to the nation at the best value for the taxpayer.
While the year may be coming to an end, our struggle with COVID-19 is not. In order to prevail against this persistent, invisible adversary, we must continue, even in the face of fatigue, to remain vigilant with basic countermeasures such as avoiding large gatherings, mask discipline and thorough handwashing. With so many of us dealing with changes in plans and possible disruptions to annual traditions, I encourage you to be good wingmen and reach out to each other.
Any way you look at it, 2020 has been a challenging year. However, it is trials like this that make us stronger. I cannot express the level of pride I feel when I think about how each of you has faced the unprecedented events of this year with courage, selflessness and humanity. I wish you the happiest of holiday seasons and hope you return next year ready to continue the work of defending our nation. Thanks for all you do. ■