Eighth Air Force commander sends holiday greetings

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- Mighty Eighth,

As 2011 comes to a close, I would like to wish everyone happy holidays and express my sincere gratitude for all the hard work and dedication you provide to our Air Force and our nation.

It has been an extremely busy year for Eighth Air Force, and we should be proud of our historic achievements. Among this year's milestones: B-2s from Whiteman flew 30-hour sorties to strike targets in Libya in support of Operation ODYSSEY DAWN; Airmen at Minot Air Force base persevered through devastating floods to maintain operations and assist their local community; Team Barksdale aced Air Force Global Strike Command's first ever Combined Unit Inspect and was just named as a finalist for the 2012 Commander in Chief's Annual Installation Excellence award; Eighth Air Force crewmembers flew the first ever B-52H flight over the North Pole en route to the Moscow Airshow; and Russian inspections of our bomber fleet began as part of the New START Treaty implementation.

Add to these significant events the myriad of exercises and the outstanding effort put forth during the Global Strike Challenge competition and symposium events, and you will understand why I have been continually impressed by the Airmen of "The Mighty Eighth" since I took command six months ago. Each and every day, I am humbled and amazed by the work that you do to provide strategic deterrence and global combat power to our nation and its allies around the world.

I also want to thank all of the family and friends of our Airmen and civilian members. They provide us with the bedrock of love and support needed to accomplish our demanding dual-role nuclear and conventional mission. Our family's contributions, efforts, and sacrifices have not gone unnoticed, and I truly appreciate all that they do for our Air Force family.

Finally, I would ask the members of "The Mighty Eighth" to look after one another and be a wingman to those among us who may be struggling this season. Whether it is one of the families at Minot AFB still displaced from the summer flood, the spouse of an Airman deployed overseas, or a single Airman who is alone for the holidays, let us all take a few moments to ask about the holiday plans of our Air Force family members and offer assistance and comfort wherever needed. I'd also ask that as we gather to celebrate this holiday season, please do not forget our deployed service members who cannot be with us or their families for the holidays.

Thank you again for your dedicated service as part of the legendary "Mighty Eighth." Nancy and I wish you all the best during the holidays and throughout the coming year. May the closeness of family and friends, the comfort of home, and the unity of our nation renew your spirits this holiday season!