Team Goodfellow Year in Review

  • Published
  • By Col. Ricky Mills
  • 17th Training Wing

Happy New Year, 17th Training Wing and welcome to 2018!  I hope each of you had a wonderful holiday season full of memories and relaxation.  As we charge into 2018, let’s take a moment to look back on the amazing things this Championship Team accomplished over the last year.

Kicking off the New Year, the 17th Training Group literally took off running into 2017 with a formation run.  Around 2,000 Goodfellow members came together for the 1.8 mile run in celebration.  This was quickly followed by the 2017 Annual Awards Banquet hosted by the 17th Training Support Squadron Feb. 3.  Here, we recognized Team Goodfellow’s top performers.  Retired Col. Dick Cole, the last Doolittle Raider, attended the banquet as a guest of honor and presented the 17th Training Wing Unit of the Year Award for 2016 to the 17th Medical Group.

Three offices within the 17th Medical Group won best patient satisfaction at the Ross Clinic.  The clinic sent a Joint Outpatient Experience Satisfaction Survey to the Department of Defense, which rated them first against more than 50 Air Force clinics.  On March 15th, Air Education and Training Command released the winners of its Innovation Competition, with Goodfellow taking home the Institutional Culture Category.  To win the award, the 17th Training Wing had to compete with all other bases in AETC and have Lt. Gen. Darryl Roberson, AETC commander, select our base as one of the top two in the award category.

Then the rodeo came to town.  The San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo Association hosted Military Appreciation Night in honor of service members at the Foster Communications Coliseum.  The night included presentations from Goodfellow members and rodeo tributes for their 85th anniversary.

March 20th saw the ground breaking for a new temporary lodging facility near the Base Theater. The new TLF will provide 10 two-bedroom units for transient personnel and replace the 30-year-old units.  Goodfellow also hosted its first sports day in two years at the Mathis Fitness Center on April 14th. The day featured volleyball, basketball, dodge ball and more with different squadrons and groups facing off against each other for points.

The 17th Training Wing and Angelo State University signed a Memorandum of Understanding at the San Angelo Independent School District Administration Building.  The MOU allows Airmen to transfer their Air University college credits toward a criminal justice bachelor’s degree at ASU.  This spring, the 17th Medical Group partnered with Howard College to bring students to the clinic to shadow base doctors.  The program allows Howard College students in the registered nurse program to come to the base clinic for a two- or three-day rotation.  During their time here, students work closely with a doctor and learn about different types of procedures.  I also signed a Public-Public and Public-Private memorandum of agreement with Howard College president, Dr. Cheryl Sparks, at the triannual P4 update meeting.  The agreement allows Howard College to provide English language skills, high school equivalency in Spanish and life skills training to Goodfellow employees.

Top 3 hosted a Community College of the Air Force graduation at the parade field May 12 to recognize individuals who were receiving their Air Force associate degree.  Fifty-six Airmen, four Marines and a Sailor graduated.

The 17th Training Wing, San Angelo community, and Vietnam Veterans of America rededicated the Mathis Field Vietnam Memorial as a part of Memorial Day at the San Angelo Regional Airport. The rededication included the Goodfellow Air Force Base Joint Service Color Guard posting the colors and a guest speech from San Angelo Mayor Brenda Gunter.  Later that summer, the 17th Training Wing Change of Command Ceremony commenced at the traditional time of 8:17 a.m. at the parade field July 21st.  At the ceremony, Col. Michael Downs, the previous commander, transferred command of the wing to me.

The San Angelo and Goodfellow community came together to implement STARBASE, a DoD youth program, at the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts.  The STARBASE program focuses on elementary students, primarily in the fifth grade, with the goal being to motivate them to explore science, technology, engineering and math fields as they continue their education.

I spoke about how America is still recovering even after 16 years at the 9/11 Memorial at the Louis F. Garland Department of Defense Fire Academy high bay, Sept 11th.  This event paid tribute to first responders who died on 9/11 with a video of remembrance.  Three of our military members here at Goodfellow stood watch representing the various groups of first responders; amidst the silence, a single firefighter rang the ceremonial bell signifying the end of watch.

Goodfellow service members and civilians participated in the Tom Green County All Veterans Council 14th Annual Veteran’s Day Parade in downtown San Angelo.  Over 400 military members participated in the parade.  Then on Nov 18th, the 17th Training Wing hosted Santa’s Market and Community Appreciation Day, the largest community event on base this year with over 4,000 attendees, 78 local vendors and 112 booths, all taking place at the Louis F. Garland Department of Defense Fire Academy high bay.

The Navy Center for Information Warfare Training Detachment Goodfellow held their Dec 7th Remembrance Day ceremony.  In honor of the 76th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Petty Officer First Class Asia Foster, CIWT Goodfellow instructor, led the ceremony held at the Louis F. Garland Department of Defense Fire Academy.

After five months of renovation, the Community Action Team opened their new location.  They now have a new permanent location for many resiliency programs designed for Airmen and their families.  Col. Jeffrey Sorrell, 17th Training Wing Vice Commander, spoke on the importance of helping agencies and coming together to accomplish these projects.

On Dec 16th, members of Goodfellow, San Angelo Civil Air Patrol, Fort Concho and the San Angelo community came together for the 11th Annual Wreaths Across America Ceremony at Belvedere Memorial Park, San Angelo, Texas.  Members of the CAP Squadron passed symbolic wreaths to me and other commanders from base to lay at the flag pole to honor those from every branch who have served before us. After, attendees for the ceremony were able to lay wreaths across all the veteran headstones at the park

As Exodus came to a close, volunteers gathered at the Taylor Chapel to provide some holiday cheer by filling bags full of cookies for Goodfellow Airmen before they left for the holidays.  Businesses, schools, churches, bakeries and small groups who wanted to ‘Support the troops and bring cookies’ donated approximately 22,000 of them!  Volunteers led by Elaine Sorrell prepared 1,200 bags of cookies for students traveling home and also prepared large cookie trays for events and activities all around the base for the holidays.

The relationships we build together through these events are nothing less than honorable, genuine and one-of-a-kind. It’s what keeps us strong as we go forward into the New Year.  Together we stand united under the same flag as citizens of the same nation, as friends and family.  For this reason, I am honored to serve as your commander.

Happy New Year!