An Eventful Year

  • Published
  • By Col. Michael Downs
  • 17th Training Wing
Welcome to 2017, Team Goodfellow! I hope everyone had a relaxing and memorable holiday season. I also hope you're recharged and ready to get to work. The Airmen, Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Coast Guardsmen and civilians at Goodfellow have impressed me every single day with your professionalism and dedication to the mission. I am confident we'll be able to use those attributes to make 2017 the most successful year yet.

Here’s a look at what we accomplished in our efforts to continuously improve across my three priorities: Mission, Airmen and Families.

Mission: Innovation, teamwork and collaboration are the hallmarks of our championship team. In 2016, we worked closely with San Angelo and Tom Green County. In addition to seven prior memorandums of understanding, we signed five new partnership agreements with local organizations to help improve our standard of living while driving down costs and making it even easier to work with our civilian counterparts. For example, we collaborated with the Concho Valley Transit District to offer an affordable trolley transportation to and from base for our students and permanent party members. We also partnered with the Chamber of Commerce and provide permanent party newcomers a monthly guided tour of San Angelo attractions so our members and families can settle in and thrive in their new home. Goodfellow also partnered with the City of San Angelo to provide firetruck maintenance in return for ambulance services for our TriCare beneficiaries. This partnership alone has already produced $40k in savings for Goodfellow and San Angelo. With several new partnership projects underway, I look forward to more collaboration between Goodfellow and the community, while increasing our capabilities and cutting costs for everyone in 2017.

We continue to grow and improve our processes as we train, develop and inspire exceptional intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and fire protection professionals to meet the needs of America and her allies. We graduated almost 13,000 students in 2016, an impressive feat by our instructors and support staff. In that number, we trained 58 international students from 19 different countries, including our Saudi Arabian partners. In the near future, to meet the increased training demands from ally and partner nations, we will renovate Heath Hall into an International Training Center to accommodate training interests from over 30 partner nations. In the mean-time, we have made accommodations to train 43 students from 10 different countries in the early part of 2017, the highest number of international students ever at Goodfellow. Our new International Training Center was made possible due to nearly $3 million in grant funds from the state of Texas and the City of San Angelo Development Corporation.

In 2016, Goodfellow observed its 75th anniversary, our diamond celebration. Goodfellow held events throughout the year beginning with a flag-raising reenactment on Jan. 26. The kick-off ceremony featured a B-1B Lancer and Vultee BT-15 fly-over commemorating the San Angelo Air Corps Basic Flying Training School opening ceremony in January 1941. Other key events included a Founder’s Week where former commanders and command chiefs returned to their old stomping grounds. Goodfellow’s contributions to our Nation’s defense is extraordinary. Members from the first two graduating classes from Goodfellow were key to the first two aerial engagements during WWII and that tradition continues to this day as Goodfellow-trained ISR and Fire Protection professionals are key to ongoing operations around the globe.

Airmen: We completed several other projects this year that improved the quality of life on Goodfellow including the Troop Walk Beautification and the addition of several new dining locations around base. One initiative I'm really proud of is the Make Goodfellow Great club-program that we started earlier this year. We now have 37 clubs that have helped 700 Airmen connect and find hobbies ranging from rugby to comedy to an anime club. This initiative continues to grow and I can't wait to see what comes next.

I’m also proud of our efforts to continually develop all levels of our workforce. In 2016 we established a Total Force Development program where we obtained 103 professional development courses and trained over 1500 Goodfellow members. We also held several Flight Commander and Flight Chief courses to prepare these leaders for additional responsibilities.

Another program we’re truly proud of and continually growing is our volunteer program. In 2016, we gave over 18,000 hours, which equates to $375,246 in man hour savings! You helped out with big-name events like the 9/11 Memorial Ceremony, the San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo, Santa’s Market, and the Veterans Day Parade. You also helped with other projects and ongoing charitable work like highway cleanups, child advocates, and by contributing to our community in more ways than I can list here. Both the base and the community value your support and selflessness more than you know.

Families: In 2016, we increased the number of Key Spouses that take care of service members and families and the Goodfellow Spouses Club renovated the Thrift Store. Our Spouses Club used store proceeds to provide thousands of dollars in scholarships to spouses and family members. We showed our appreciation for families through various programs like Operation K.I.D.S., Operation Warmheart and Heartlink. We also built a new children’s playground, replaced outdated playground equipment and plan to update our kids’ play spaces. We overhauled our website to make sure it provides our Airmen and families with a single stop for all base and community info.

All of your hard work and fantastic initiatives to improve our base, mission and workforce was recognized through numerous accolades. In total, Goodfellow garnered two Air Force and ten AETC-level unit wins including Air Education and Training's Security Forces Squadron of the Year, Fire Department of the Year, ISR Squadron of the Year and Dental Clinic of the Year. We were also recognized for having the number one safety program and number one library in AETC. That’s just naming a few!

In 2017, I am looking forward to many upcoming advancements for the base to include; larger email boxes, a pedestrian park next to Brandenburg Hall, wi-fi in the student dorms, a new coffee house and much, much more. We also have the Unit Effectiveness Inspection towards the end of the year and I'm confident that we will score another excellent overall.

The New Year ushers in a world of opportunity for Team Goodfellow to demonstrate once again that we are the finest wing in the Air Education and Training Command. We will deal with any changes and we will continue to deliver exceptionally well-trained Airmen, Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Coast Guardsmen and civilian professionals in ISR and fire protection. This excellence is our duty and our legacy.

I am honored to serve as your Commander. Happy New Year and welcome back!