AFSOC commander sends best wishes to Air Commandos

  • Published
  • By Lt. Gen. Donald C. Wurster
  • Commander, Air Force Special Operations Command
As we approach the holiday season, it is appropriate for us all to reflect on what these events mean to us. The mixture of religious holidays, the warmth of home, and the gathering of people we care about are central to this time of year. We all send a special thank you and best wishes to our forces in combat. You, especially, are in our thoughts and prayers as you serve our great nation. The precision and reliability of our people have made us the world's most respected and capable special operations force, and I thank you for the hard work and dedication that have brought us to where we are today.

Air Commandos are making a difference in overseas operations, from finding and eliminating our nation's enemies to creating partner capacity around the globe. You have done exceptional work ensuring an aging fleet is mission ready, learning new aircraft, and supporting deploying personnel. The individual talents and work ethic of every Air Commando have contributed to our success.

As you have an opportunity in this demanding environment, each of you needs to take time off and spend it with family and friends if possible. As you do, never forget that our important mission needs you -- we need you -- which is why your safety is so important. Air Force mishap history tells us this holiday season is a critical accident time period -- second only to the summer months. Wear your seat belts, watch road conditions, use protective motorcycle equipment, limit driving distance times, and never drink and drive.

We have been operating at a high OPSTEMPO for several years now and tragically, we have had combat losses. Even more tragically, we have had preventable, non-combat losses, including suicides of some of our own this year. The stresses from deployment and combat are real; they are especially evident during the holiday season and we must all take the time to keep an eye on our fellow wingmen. We need to be ready and willing to assist each other and ask for help when we need it.

As we make special efforts to take care of ourselves, our families, and the families of those deployed during the holiday season, we must also keep our fellow Air Commandos and joint brethren who are in harm's way in our thoughts and prayers. Those forward in the combat zone are serving valiantly and selflessly far from our borders, unable to pause for the holidays. They continue to place their lives on the line every day in defense of our freedom, our way of life, and those we are sworn to protect. If you are deployed now, thank you for standing in the breach for those of us who are not.

Return from the holidays refreshed and refocused, and prepared to tackle the challenges of the New Year. There is still much to do. May God bless each of you and your families during this time.