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World Class Airmen & Expeditionary Combat Power

Col. Mark Weatherington, 28th Bomb Wing commander, performs a walk around inspection of a B-1B with Airman 1st Class Daryl Ackerman, 37th Bomb Squadron crew chief at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Jan. 17, 2012. Inspections are performed to ensure landing gear pins and handles are properly removed and stored, while searching for any foreign object debris around the aircraft, and checking for leaks that may impede flight. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Zachary Hada/Released)

Col. Mark Weatherington, 28th Bomb Wing commander, performs a walk around inspection of a B-1B with Airman 1st Class Daryl Ackerman, 37th Bomb Squadron crew chief at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Jan. 17, 2012. Inspections are performed to ensure landing gear pins and handles are properly removed and stored, while searching for any foreign object debris around the aircraft, and checking for leaks that may impede flight. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Zachary Hada/Released)

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. -- When I am asked about the 28th Bomb Wing, whether in the media or in casual conversation, by another military member or even a civilian, two things immediately come to mind - "World Class Airmen, and Expeditionary Combat Power." This simple phrase captures the essence of what Ellsworth and its Airmen are about - it is the mission of the 28th Bomb Wing.

World Class Airmen speaks to the talent, dedication, and enthusiasm of the men and women who make up this wing. I continue to be amazed daily by your ingenuity, intelligence, and drive to make a difference. But the idea of "World Class" also describes my expectations for you and how you conduct yourself on and off duty. You represent the greatest Air Force ever assembled; you are a distinct member of this community and I need you to act like a world class Airman and neighbor. World class also signals how I intend to support you. We can improve many things at Ellsworth--facilities and infrastructure, services, work processes, and even personal relationships. I pledge to do whatever I can to ensure you have the resources, training, and leadership to do the mission the right way. If you know of areas that need some attention, please let your supervisors and commanders know.

The second part of my message, "Expeditionary Combat Power," describes what the World Class Airmen from Ellsworth bring to the fight. Every one of you plays a vital role in guaranteeing that mission, whether sustaining our people, maintaining weapons and equipment, generating aircraft, pulling a trigger, or operating a network...and more. Your efforts underwrote the remarkable combat success of the 37th and 34th Bomb Squadrons between January 2011 and January 2012 - 1122 of 1126 ATO sorties, 99.83% mission effectiveness, more than 3,000 Joint Tactical Air Requests filled, while responding to 432 "Troops in Contact" situations and destroying 321 targets. And in the midst of this, you guaranteed the ability to fight from the installation during a terrible winter storm, safely generating and launching the aircraft that struck the deepest targets in the air operation against Libya. Moreover, Airmen from every specialty... defenders, fire fighters, explosive ordnance technicians, communicators, engineers, contracting officers, personelists, fuels and supply techs, medics, loggies...deployed at a high rate, almost 1,200 in all for more than 200,000 days last year.

As we look to the future, together we will build a new capability to operate remotely piloted aircraft on combat missions around the globe, 24/7/365. And we will make vital improvements across the installation to posture Ellsworth to make pivotal contributions to our Nation's defense during this challenging period in our history.

I have enjoyed the great privilege of leading you, the men and women of the 28th Bomb Wing, for the last year - you are indeed a world class team making a difference for your Air Force and your Nation. I am proud of your accomplishments, I thank you for your dedicated service, and I look forward to working with you to achieve even greater heights in the next 12 months.

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