Gear Up!

Gear up! The rally cry to get your gear and be ready for action. It is a constant cry in todays expeditionary Air Force with a high tempo for deployments. Everyone has the responsiblity to do their part. Now it is my turn.

Monday I started picking up gear for my upcoming deployment, uniforms and other associated "battle rattle" necessary for the location I will find myself in. Fortunately the Air Force has gotten wise in some regards and quite a bit of the gear will be there waiting for me.

The Air Force is certainly now an "expeditionary" force. We are on the move...constantly. The last few weeks I welcomed home troops from my Civil Engineering Squadron from Kirkuk, where the Air Force operates a fairly large airbase. These airmen were out of the wire doing convoys and repairing roads damaged by IEDs. (Read their story here)

This same day, I attended the change of command for the 316CES squadron here at Andrews. Lt Col Williams is moving on to a special assignment and Lt Col Duffy is taking command. And very soon more engineers will be heading for deployment. Lt Col Williams, in his last remarks to the squadron, mentioned how we are ready always, the CE rally cry here at Andrews. They are. We have to be, because we are always on the move.

CES is an amazing squadron. Last week I was contacted regarding a sick airman at Walter Reed who happened to be a Engineer from another base. This squadron has adopted this airman as one of their own. Family. These guys are family.

As I prepare for my own departure, I know my chapel team will be there for my family as will my neighbors on base. There a bunch of great folks at Andrews, a sense of closeness and trust that I think is fostered by an environment where loved ones go into harms way -- a sense of duty and dedication that extends beyond the service member to family. Today I also provided an invocation for an outstanding officer who received a well deserved promotion. The custom is to show appreciation to spouse with the gift of flowers, but he gave her something that spoke volumes more: he pinned her with rank one grade above his newly earned rank, to symbolize her importance to him.

Gear up! Its a call not only heard by the warrior, but by his or her family.