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Welcome Home and Happy Holidays!

Madison, Wis. -- Welcome Home and Happy Holidays!

It's hard to believe it's the end of another year. It seems like 2009 was here and gone before we knew it. Not that it was an uneventful year - lots of great things happened - but maybe the fact that we were so busy made the time fly.

First of all, I'd like to say welcome home and job well done to everyone involved in the AEF deployment. In the relatively short time our people were deployed, we flew 417 missions and tallied 1,625 flying hours. That's a remarkable amount of flying in a short time frame. Our flying operation covered every single line of flying they were assigned and executed them with exceptional professionalism and precision. Once again, the 115th Fighter Wing set the bar for other units, active and reserve, to aim for. Most importantly, we got our people home with no casualties.

I'd like to say thanks once again to everyone involved in making this deployment a success. Every work center on base had a hand in executing a nearly flawless deployment and recovery. Processing on both ends went smoothly, owing to great planning by those doing the processing and by everyone showing up prepared.

2009 HIGHLIGHTS

I'd like to briefly review a few highlights from this year:

- "Green" initiatives that make us a user of 100 percent renewable power.
- The OSHA VPP "Star" safety rating, an award we will be receiving this UTA. This was followed by the ANG Director of Safety Outstanding Safety Achievement Award.
- Leadership changes, including our own Col. Gary Ebben and Col. Ted Metzgar being assigned as commanders of Volk Field and the 128 ARW, respectively. Also, Command Chief David Zoromski was asked to be the acting command chief for 1st Air Force for most of this year.
- The 115 FW responded to the stolen civilian aircraft incident last spring followed by a tremendously successful alert forces evaluation - the most challenging assessment ever administered, according to the IG team.
- Excellent inter-service training at NAS Key West.
- Members of the Medical Group deployed to Nicaragua to provide much-needed care to poor, remote villages.
- 115 FW pilots delivered new F-16s to Greece.
- The end of publishing our base newspaper, The BAM, and the rise in importance of this, our public web site. The wing also created a Facebook page to help unit members and their families keep up with fighter wing news.
- Hosting Air Force One and supporting the visit of President Obama. Presidential staff members called this one of the best facilities with some of the best support they've seen in years.
- And, of course, a very successful AEF deployment.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS

As we make our way into the holiday season, let me wish you and your families the best. You have worked hard this year and your efforts have been remarkable. Take some time to relax with your family and friends. Please express my sincere thanks to your families for their sacrifices. Without their support, we could not be the best year in and year out. Enjoy your holiday season, be careful, and come back ready for a new year full of new challenges!
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