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Mission: The Grand Slam Wing

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Darren Hartford, 379th Air Expeditionary Wing commander's commentary.

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Darren Hartford, 379th Air Expeditionary Wing commander's commentary.

AL UDEID AIR BASE, QATAR -- As I have explored the Grand Slam Wing, I have had the honor to meet some of the remarkable Airmen and watch the incredible things that you do each and every day. Whether you are flying air tasking order sorties, turning a wrench to fix an aircraft, protecting our installation, changing an air conditioner unit, supporting our mission partners or keeping all of us healthy, I am awed by your attitudes and the effort you put into making sure we are successful in completing our mission.

I am sure most of you have heard that Al Udeid Air Base will be an 'enduring' location. Recently I gathered with leaders from around the wing, both officer and Senior Enlisted, to discuss what 'enduring' means and what impact that concept has to our overarching mission. We looked at where we have been, where we are now, and what we expect to do in the future as combat operations in Afghanistan wind down in the coming months. Out of our discussion, we identified a mission statement that I believe encompasses all that you do today and will be asked to do in the future: "Deliver airpower, sustain regional presence, partner for the future."

Every day dozens of sorties take off from Al Udeid Air Base to deliver airpower across the region. We deliver airpower by providing all aspects of the Air Force vision of Global Vigilance, Global Reach and Global Power. At the same time, thousands of Airmen work around the clock to ensure that those aircraft are ready to fly when necessary, and we have the facilities and the support we need to make that mission happen. On top of enabling and executing airpower, our Airmen here sustain an important regional presence that allow surge forces to bed down as crises and contingencies require. Finally, the close partnerships we have developed and continue to strengthen with our Qatari hosts and our many mission partners on this base are closely tied to our collective success, now and in the future.

A mission is nothing unless we have a destination in mind. As part of my discussion with wing leaders, we also deliberated over where we see the Grand Slam Wing in one year, five years, and even twenty years. We do not want to be a wing with an attitude where, "it could be worse," is good enough. Out of these discussions we developed a vision statement that will serve as our target. The Grand Slam Wing will be:

AFCENT's premier wing executing an enduring mission
- Delivering airpower to enhance regional security
- Accomplished by professional, innovative, and ready Airmen
- Teamed with our host nation and mission partners for success

The foundation for that vision is the set of our wing's priorities: mission, Airmen, and partners. It is a theme that accurately captures the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing's role at Al Udeid Air Base. We are here for the specific purpose of providing airpower for the combatant commander, but we cannot do this without professional Airmen who continue to seek ways to improve how we do our jobs and who are ready to get the mission done. The success of the wing and of our mission partners hinges on the teamwork between us, our mission partners, and our host nation, Qatar.

Thank-you for all you do for the 379th, the Air Force, and our country. I appreciate the sacrifices you and your family have made for you to be here. I am proud to be part of this team of all-stars and part of this amazing mission. I look forward to serving with you as we work together to safely conduct our mission and to hopefully leave Al Udeid and the Grand Slam Wing better than we found it.