Looking Back Before the New Year

  • Published
  • By Col. Michael Downs
  • 17th Training Wing
Welcome to 2016, Team Goodfellow! I hope everyone had a relaxing and memorable holiday season. I’m particularly excited about 2016 because it marks Goodfellow’s 75th Anniversary! The Airmen, Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Coast Guardsmen and civilians at Goodfellow impress me every single day with their professionalism and dedication to the mission. I am confident those attributes will make 2016 our best year ever!

I am dedicated to mission, Airmen and families, so here’s a look at what we’ve accomplished in our efforts to continuously improve on each of these central elements.

Innovation, teamwork and collaboration are the hallmarks of our championship team. In 2015, we worked closely with San Angelo and Tom Green County, signing seven 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. In March, the city of San Angelo won the Altus Trophy in recognition of its community support to the 17th Training Wing. We are working with the community to take this partnership to the next level. For example, we’re collaborating with the Concho Valley Rape Crisis Center to assist in providing education and training between our Sexual Assault Prevention and Response office and the Crisis Center. Goodfellow is also partnering with Howard College and the Concho Valley Workforce Development Board to create an internship program, providing academic coaching services to CVWDB employees and Goodfellow Airman and Family Services employees. Interns in this partnership will receive continuing education unit credit for classes. 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 2016.

On Goodfellow, we continue to grow and improve our processes as we develop exceptional intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and fire protection professionals to meet the needs of America and her allies. We graduated almost 12,000 students in 2015, an impressive feat by our instructors and support staff. In that number, we trained 25 international students from 14 different countries, including our Saudi Arabian partners. To meet the increased demand from ally and partner nations for training, we’re working to create a world class international training center for the future and expand cooperation with our other allies and partners across the world.

This past year we demonstrated our commitment and dedication to strengthening mission capabilities as proven when we garnered an “Effective” rating for the Air Education and Training Command Unit Effectiveness Inspection with seven continuous process improvement and strategic management base programs recognized as “Outstanding.”

We recently opened the Avengers Lounge to provide our Airmen with a dedicated permanent party recreation center. This state-of-the-art facility provides permanent party members residing in the dorms a place to go for entertainment and to connect with other permanent party on base. We’ve completed several other projects this year that will improve the quality of life on Goodfellow; including a ballroom and lounge inside the Event Center, the overhaul of our bowling center, renovations to the Cressman Dining Facility and weekend food services at the Event Center. Some new food projects for the upcoming year include a pizza restaurant and a Food Transformation Initiation for our current dining facilities which feature fresh and healthy menu choices.

Another program we’re truly proud of and continually growing is our volunteer program. In 2015 we gave over 19,000 hours, which equates to $409,078 in man hour savings! You helped out with big-name events like the 9/11 Memorial Ceremony, the San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo, Operation Warmheart and the Veteran’s Day Parade. You also helped with other projects and ongoing charitable work like highway cleanups, as 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.

At the end of 2015, we nearly doubled the number of Key Spouses to take care of Airmen and families. We continue to show our appreciation for families through various programs like Operation K.I.D.S., Operation Warmheart and Heartlink. We’re redesigning our website to make sure it provides our Airmen and the families of Goodfellow with a single stop for all base and community info. We’ve also replaced outdated playground equipment and plan to continue updating our kids’ play spaces.

2016 celebrates Goodfellow’s 75th anniversary. We will celebrate our diamond anniversary with events throughout the year beginning with a flag raising reenactment on Jan. 26. The kick-off ceremony will feature a BT-15 fly-over commemorating the San Angelo Air Corps Basic Flying Training School opening ceremony in January 1941. Other key events include a Founder’s Week and anniversary themed activities throughout the year.

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 the changes and challenges including a fiscally constrained budget and force management; however, I believe 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 also our legacy.

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