Busy week ends in thanks

  • Published
  • By Brig. Gen. Greg Touhill
  • 81st Training Wing commander
Last week was arguably one of the busiest weeks we've had in the last year. We had a host of on-base and off-base activities and some thank yous are in order. 

Thank you to all who participated in the Chief of Staff of the Air Force visit. General Norton and Suzie Schwartz really enjoyed their time with us at Keesler, and asked me to thank you on their behalf for making them feel at home. 

General Schwartz said the base looked great and was delighted with the Airmen's Call. "You can't help but get jazzed after meeting those great Airmen!" he said. Thanks to all who made the visit a success, especially Capt. Jeff Rich, Michele Rivera, Tech. Sgt. Nashona Ragland and the 81st Training Wing protocol team. 

Thanks to the folks who led the Scope Warrior conference. While the Chief was here, we also hosted more than thirty senior generals, members of the senior executive service, and major command A6s for their annual strategic planning conference. The 333rd Training Squadron and Majs. Scott Solomon and Carol Blackington led the effort, which was feted as one of the best ever! Well done! 

Thanks to the members of the 81st Security Forces Squadron who went the extra mile to protect us during Halloween. They added additional posts at Thrower Park and the Falcon Park housing areas to ensure proper credentialing, and I personally observed several of our defenders handing out glow sticks and candy. You Airmen are awesome! 

Thanks too to Tops in Blue and the Singing Sergeants, who visited last week to entertain us and renew our community ties. The Singing Sergeants show on Sunday and the Tops in Blue show on Thursday were spectacular! The spirit shown by the 81st Training Group squadrons at the Tops in Blue concert was exceptional! Thanks for "showing the blue!" 

Thanks, too, to the Services team that rolled out the hospitality to lodge and feed our guests, hosted another "Slugfest" extravaganza, and concluded the week by welcoming the mighty 403rd Wing for their monthly training weekend. How busy were we? 

Barbie Ragno and the lodging team didn't have a spare room and Col. (Chris) Valle, (81st Training Wing vice commander), commented that he had Wednesday breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals at different events courtesy of Peggy Fairley, Kevin Knight, and Rebecca Shemwell, all from 81st Force Support Squadron Services. Our Services team rocks! 

A huge thanks goes out to our community partners who hosted the 30th Annual Salute to the Military at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum Convention Center. The event was chaired by John MacFarland of The Sun Herald and Bob Coniglione of General Dynamics Information Technology and hosted by Linda Watts of the Mississippi Coast Chamber of Commerce. 

The Salute was a tremendous event that featured an address by the 19th Chief of Staff of the Air Force, General Schwartz, and entertainment by the Band of the Air Force Reserve. In addition to Linda, John, and Bob we owe a special thanks to retired Lt. Gen. Clark Griffith and retired Brig. Gen. Joe Spraggins, who worked with generous merchants and individuals throughout the community to donate tickets for military personnel. Thank you so much! 

Finally, Saturday marked the beginning of the transition of support services under the A-76 contract. With the transition, many of our teammates who have faithfully manned the watch here at Keesler are themselves transitioning. Some are retiring. Some are moving to positions with our new Computer Sciences Corporation mission partner. Others are transitioning to other opportunities in the community. To all, thank you for your dedicated service to our base, our Air Force and our nation. Godspeed.