Burke: thank you for all you do

  • Published
  • By Brig. Gen. Darryl W. Burke
  • 82nd Training Wing commander
The holiday season at Sheppard is marked by a lot of great events--Operation Thanksgiving, the base Christmas Tree and Menorah Lighting, toy drives and of course all the holiday parties. But, before we enjoy a well deserved reprieve, we must execute Exodus.

This will be my first experience with Exodus, and I have to admit that I was impressed when I first learned that we were planning to move 5,000 Airmen in less than 24 hours. I realized pretty quickly though that Exodus is another cog in the massive training machine that is Sheppard. We'll have our challenges, but with all the experience and professionalism at the table I'm confident it will once again be a success.

It doesn't hurt that so much of the wing has a huge stake in the success of Exodus, of course; for most of our instructors and MTLs, Exodus is the one chance during the year to take an extended break.

As leaders, we spend a lot of time and attention on refining processes and making them better. What I find truly amazing about the 82nd Training Wing is how little of this massive operation needs improving. It's remarkable how many of our students come here, get successfully trained and move on to their first duty assignment equipped with the skills they need to be successful Airmen. That's a testament to the hard work of our permanent party Airmen and civilians at all levels.

So enjoy your Exodus holiday. Spend time with your families and get some rest. Please be safe, whatever you do, and don't let tragedy mar your holiday celebration. If you're planning to drink, designate a driver, have a plan and stick to it. If you're traveling, be cautious in bad weather and never drive tired; it's better to arrive late than never arrive at all. I need every one of you back in the New Year.

January begins with the AETC Symposium, followed by senior leaders visiting Sheppard for a conference in February, as well as a major inspection in March. Most importantly, we'll have another 80,000 young men and women excited to serve their country coming through our gates and looking to us to give them the skills they need to succeed.

Thank you for all you do, and may you and your families have a happy and safe holiday and a wonderful new year. I look forward to seeing you then.