Command Chief bids farewell to Ellsworth warriors

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. John R. Gillette
  • 28th Bomb Wing
Warriors of Ellsworth, I want to thank you for making my second tour here the most memorable in my 27-year career. As my wife, Tess, and I depart this great wing, our hearts are filled with happiness that we've had the honor and privilege to serve with you, but we are also sad that we must part ways.

My job was to come here and inspire you to dream more, learn more, do more and be more, but I believe I've gotten more from you than you have from me. It has been a delight to watch you excel in your work and overcome the many challenges of the past 19 months.

I've traveled the world over with 12 assignments to my name and numerous deployments, and I can tell you the Airmen of Ellsworth are second to none! You should be proud of your daily contributions to the war on terror. 

Be it inside or outside the wire, providing expeditionary combat support, or producing sorties for one of the most lethal weapons system in the world, it is because of you that we have the greatest Air Force in the world. America stands stronger than ever because of the sacrifices you and your families make everyday. What amazes me is that you don't consider them sacrifices but part of your job, your mission and your duty. You are our nation's sword and shield!

As you continue to do your country's bidding, I am sure we will ask even more of you because we know you will deliver. Many of you have been fighting the Global War on Terror since 2001 and you have proven your mettle as professional Airmen. Your disciplined service has been the key to our success on the battlefield,  and it will continue to be critical in the future. When times get tough, go back to the basics; discipline must be at the core of our warrior ethos.

I would be remiss not to thank the great communities that surround our base and commend the wonderful support they consistently provide. Your generous support and hospitality have made our Airmen feel at home in the majestic hills of South Dakota. Tess and I have grown a special bond with many of you and will miss you all.

As we move on to our next assignment, we take with us fond memories of our time at Ellsworth and the life-long friendships we have made here. It has been our honor to serve with you and I hope our paths cross again. 

Editor's Note: Chief Gillette will be the command chief for the 305th Airlift Wing at McGuire Air Force Base, N.J. He was stationed at Ellsworth from July 1994 to May 2001 and again from September 2006 to May 2008.