By Col. Tim Smith, commander, 184th Regional Support Group
Here we go rolling into the spring season and we are already half way through the 2017 fiscal calendar. Let it be known that a time accelerator is issued to you when you assume command. I think the wing commander initiates the time warp when you are handed the guide-on during the change of command ceremony. It seems like I just walked away from that cushy Inspector General’s office in building 48 with a view of the Wichita skyline only yesterday. Fact is, I actually embarked upon this “suddenly not so new” position eighteen months ago!
I am grateful for the opportunity to connect with each of you in this edition of the Jayhawk Flyer. It has been an incredible second quarter for the 184th Regional Support Group, the wing, and the Air National Guard. Lt. Col. Todd “Knoxville” Kavouras, commander of Detachment 1, Smoky Hill Weapons Range, and his team of professionals wrapped up the largest and most successful Jaded Thunder exercise to date in February. All three 184th RSG squadrons took part in the exercise. Such extraordinary results required all hands on deck. The event is becoming more frequent due to its popularity with our warfighters as an effective training venue.
The city of Salina plays a vital role in the exercise as well. For two weeks the Salina Regional Airport is home base for all flying units who participate in Jaded Thunder. According to the Salina Post, Jaded Thunder participants impacted the Salina economy to the tune of approximately 3.4 million dollars. Thirteen-hundred military members occupied just over 800 hotel rooms and rented around 140 vehicles. Additionally, the flying mission required the purchase of more than 400,000 gallons of jet fuel and the lease of 163,000 square feet of hangar space. Both the community and the military realize an enormous benefit from the exercise.
In conveying the overwhelming success of Jaded Thunder, I am once again reminded of the sacrifice and teamwork necessary to carry-on our own on-going winning wing tradition. We are the culmination of many working parts which makes the Guard one of the best jobs ever! Our expert full-time force and Drill Status Guardsmen supported throughout the communities where we live come together to meet all challenges. The formula works and it works well.
There are just over one-thousand traditional Guard members within our wing. Speaking for me personally, there is absolutely no conceivable way I could command the 184th RSG as a traditional officer without the commitment and dedication of our own full-time and amazingly competent Guard force. Nor would it be possible to juggle my full-time professional civilian career without the support of my incredible Learjet colleagues who manage my engineering responsibilities during frequent military leave.
Regardless of the size or complexity of any issue that arises or no matter the work status that I’m in, the job gets done because we all do it together. We come together “as one” just like in the coliseum scene where Russell Crowe is directing fellow warriors in the movie “Gladiator.” Okay, maybe it’s a bit corny but again, it works.
As in the movie scene there are those occasions requiring an immediate call to arms which elevates everyone to work together. We adopt a forward leaning and mission driven posture. We recognize the mission at hand as what is most important and we get great things accomplished – “as one.” As one – we embed a greater feeling of accountability and responsibility in everyone. “Strength and honor” is indeed appropriate here, the strength of the private and public sector relationship when we work together and the honor in serving.
It is a great time to be a Fighting Jayhawk and I am proud to serve with each of you!