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Looking back at 2010 – Challenges lie ahead

December 30, 2010 -- Happy New Year!

What a great year 2010 was as we surpassed many challenges thrown at us.

We supported the on-going fight in both AOR's.We sent our civil engineers to Bosnia. The medical group went to Puerto Rico.

Our maintainers converted the A-10+ to A-10C. The ASOS successfully passed their UCI.

We hosted Hawgsmoke 2010 and for the first time in Hawgsmoke history we won back-to-back competitions. The coming year will be as challenging as we work through our nation's struggling economy. We will be asked to maintain our same level of participation and success on a much leaner budget. What's on our 2011 plate? First we need to focus on things here at home. With the 116th Brigade deployed, the Air Guard will be tasked to support State emergencies. As the cold and snow continues we can anticipate winter activation for snow removal or support of citizens basic needs. Depending on snow pack and how quickly the snow pack melts we may be looking at flood relief missions. As late summer and fall arrives we have Idaho fire season to contend with.

Our next priority is the ongoing overseas contingency operations and we will be deploying Airmen to support that mission. We must continue to equip and train for our overseas contingency missions, which will be evaluated through an Operational Readiness Inspection in October. You may or may not know that our ORI has changed from a Combination ORI to a Phase I-only ORI. This was a conscious decision as I assessed everything on our schedule for 2011. We will be pressed this year, actually it seems like every year we are given new challenges and 2011 is lining up to be no exception. Fortunately, we have outstanding Airmen who are trained and ready. You have enthusiasm and patriotism. Your education and personal drive is higher and stronger than ever and I know we will press through 2011 with ultimate success. It is an honor to be your commander, you make my job easy as I know each and every one of you will give your all to ensure success.

In addition, I would like to be the first to welcome you to The Beacon Live, our new online newsletter. This is definitely a work in progress with only a shell built so far, but it will ultimately replace "The Beacon" while saving the wing close to $30,000 in production costs each year. What we need is interaction from you. I have tasked public affairs with building The Beacon Live and adding a bunch of great content that will replace all of the usual stuff we used to see each month in the printed version. What we need from you is constructive input on what you would like to see and read about - just like you always have with The Beacon. Please pass the word to current and retired members so we can get everyone to subscribe to this online newsletter. We would like to have a 100% subscription rate so no one is left out of the loop. Fill out the form located on the home page, or you can simply click here. You will be sent an e-mail confirming that you wish to be added to the mailing list. That's it! You will automatically get the newsletter updates from the previous month to your inbox on the Friday before the week of drill. Let us know what you think about the new format and product. If you don't or do like it, let us know. I'm excited to get this going and believe it will provide needed and timely information to all our Airmen.

Lastly, I want to wish you a safe and successful new year. Set a goal, write it down, strive to achieve and assess progress through the year. You can do it! Keep an eye on your Wingman, don't hesitate to ask him or her "how are you, how's it going, everything ok?" Get involved with the associations we have within the Wing. NGAUS and ENGUS are great organizations that support you and all Airmen. Thanks for your CFC contributions - we surpassed our goal and this will directly help those who are in most need. Thanks for your support, my door is always open, drop in some time, I don't bite.

-J.R.
Col. James R. Compton, 124 FW Commander