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Annual Commander's Call kicks off in January

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Ivyann Castillo
  • 171 ARW/PA
     The annual 171st Air Refueling Wing Commander's Call conducted by Brig. Gen. Roy Uptegraff, commander, was held at the Hyatt Regency in Coraopolis Sunday morning, January 10.
     Gen. Uptegraff began speaking by calling the airmen of the 171 ARW, "America's finest," before giving an overview of the accomplishments and missions during the 2009 year.
     Uptegraff wanted to reiterate how successful the 171 ARW impacted the G-20 experience in Pittsburgh with the nation, local agencies and the community by providing support and security.  "In uniform we are the most trusted, we portray a sacred trust," said Uptegraff.
     Other accomplishments the General targeted ware the overwhelming recruiting percentage of 110% in the Wing; mission completion with the deployments such as the Security Forces Squadron operation in Iraq this past summer; the most operational flying hours in Air Mobility Command; and the Wing's "magnificent" safety record.
     Some improvement plans mentioned by Uptegraff that needed to be worked on in 2009 were renovating the infrastructures of certain facilities and flying older-model tankers.
     Uptegraff also discussed future missions for 2010 to include the new Air Expeditionary Force, AEF schedule preparations, Unit Compliance Inspection planning, orientation flights, recognition ceremonies, hanger renovations and family day.
     With the UCI and deployments approaching, Uptegraff pointed out how important training was to prepare for both events.  A major part of the Commander's Call was geared to some of the ancillary training required for each airman to complete.
     "With technically only 24 days a year for our traditional Guardsmen to work and also find time to complete their training is almost impossible, but having some of this accomplished at the Commander's Call with a large mass of people is the best way to use our time," said Lt. Col. Ted Jackson, plans officer, 171st Operations Group.
     "We not only reap the benefits of having this training during this event," said Jackson.  "It lightens our load of things that need to be accomplished for UCI preparations and for those deploying who have to worry about other training items to finish."
     The squadron and group commanders also spoke giving their overview of 2009 and also giving their thanks and appreciation to the men and women of the 171 ARW for a successful year.
     "AFIs set the standards, the excellent work we do is performed by our people, and we have excellent people, "said Col. Van Kooten, commander, 171st Maintenance Group.