A fond farewell to Goodfellow

  • Published
  • By Col. Scott Bethel
  • 17th Training Wing commander
The time has passed way too quickly for me and my family. It's nearly time for the dreaded Change of Command ceremony (March 9, for those who don't know). With that, my time at Goodfellow (at least as commander) will be over and the Col. Richard Ayres era will begin.

It's been an exciting 18 months. Coming here for me at all was completely unexpected. I had orders to another job, a house rented, and kids in school - the whole deal. God had another plan and we diverted to Goodfellow in sunny San Angelo. I knew what a wonderful opportunity this would be, but the family had to be convinced.

My guess is that many of your own families were a little uncertain about coming here. A Goodfellow assignment is not
always at the top of everyone's wish list. But after a year or two here, the place grows on you. Really, like overnight professionally and personally, we all get really connected and start to feel a sense of responsibility and ownership for
the Goodfellow community.

As we leave here, I'll look back on with real satisfaction a few things. We have a Team here at Goodfellow - and that is
important, even vital in an atmosphere of dwindling resources. If we are not all pulling in the same direction and doing our individual parts then we will NOT be successful - YOU have done that. Whether here, at home or in deployed locations, you are the greatest team ever!

The Team has pushed forward with the most comprehensive training innovations in the history of this Wing. Every course has felt transformation's push - from firefighting to signals intelligence, from imagery intelligence to our
officer classes, everyone is doing something significant and new. Further, Team Goodfellow is on the leading edge of modeling and simulation - the best, fastest way to maximize training time and dollars.

We have an award-winning team in the 17th Training Group working every angle of the virtual spectrum to get the most out of the time we have with our students. You've also done extraordinary things to make exercises and classroom work totally connected to the Global War on Terror and turned out the most prepared warriors in the Department of

Team Goodfellow has revolutionized our Services activities. We are the first in the command to transform our money-losing club structure to a more comprehensive club, community/event center. You don't see it now, but the longer we recover capital from that the better our facilities will look and the more we'll have available for off-duty fun.

The team in mission support has done a tremendous job of adjusting to how they deliver capability to you in an environment of reduced resources and manpower. We lead the way in the command for deployment preparation. On
the initiative of the 17th Mission Support Group, we've got the best, most realistic predeployment training in Air Education and Training Command. I know for a fact it's saved lives.

Even more exciting is that we are now on the precipice of executing our most major housing initiative ever. Working with the city of San Angelo on their gift of 110 acres we are very close to executing a plan to build 240 houses and establish our first-ever large housing community at Goodfellow Air Force Base.

Team Goodfellow has taken the way we deliver medical care to a whole new level. We're first in command in student care - transforming even the location of the student clinic to better serve our biggest population. Further, on a shoestring budget our clinic leapt forward into the 21st century with modernized facilities, infrastructure, and capacity.

We've also worked through some of the Wing's most challenging manpower issues transferring military to civilian billets and continued the Command's highest level of customer satisfaction. None of this was present two years ago.

We are a joint team, a team in far-flung geographically separated lot. We all work, play and train together. Each aspect of Team Goodfellow has shown an extraordinary level of willingness to put aside things that are not contributing to our mission and push forward with things that are. The sister services' contributions to our mission are essential and are what makes us a genuine Joint Center of Excellence!

As Laura, the kids and I leave here, we have so many fond memories of the wonderful people, experiences and opportunities only available in a town like San Angelo and a base like Goodfellow. Such is true only in America, where
everyone has an equal chance to succeed and regardless of your background, race or place of birth or anything else.
Opportunities like what we all enjoy here at Goodfellow are what we are fighting for around the world. Our enemies would love to crush those opportunities forever. Stay the course and let's not allow that to happen.

So, on behalf of all the Bethels, thank you for the chance, even if only for a little while, to be part of the Goodfellow and San Angelo families. We are leaving here with so much to be thankful for we couldn't even begin to highlight individuals. God has been gracious to our family through you, Goodfellow Air Force Base and San Angelo. Thank you for all you've done for us. I know you'll extend a warm and heartfelt welcome to Colonel and Mrs. Ayres. They have no idea what an outstanding opportunity awaits them - but then again, neither did we...