Coming to a close

This may be my last entry from in country. I will soon be heading home and handing off all responsibilties to my replacements. It has been one great ride! I want to say here publically to all with whom I have served thank you for making this an incredible deployment. Our commanders come no better than they came here. I've had the privilege to pray for most of them at change of command ceremonies. It has been my privilege to serve them and their squadrons.

My fellow chaplain from the Army in ministry was top notch. As I told him in person, keep your hiney down brother!

EMEDS - You got r done! Thanks for making me part of your family.

Cops, thanks for watching the wire so we were safe and for stopping by so often to visit with us at the chapel.

I brag on the group commander, all our commanders, the cheifs, and most of the senior NCOs but I have to brag on the airmen as well. Worked and play hard with integrity and honor -- this they did.

There is a sadness as we transfer off our responsibilities. I almost feel as if I have sold a beloved home and am moved into the basement while my buyers are moving into the main rooms. I will miss the people I have served with and I will miss the incredible opportunities that exist to make a difference in the lives of so many folks. This is my first deployment to a war zone, but even the veterans of such are talking of how our group of folks were something exceptional, and they were and are. They always had a can do attitude and got it done. There energy level was incredible. They seized opportunities and when they did not exist engineered them. Attacks from the enemy did not shake their resolve in the least. We made a difference. We were encouraged to finish strong and return with honor and it is my sincere belief we did it -- together. I wish I could tell you more specifically about certain individuals and what they accomplished but operational security and respect for privacy prevents me from saying too much.

But I am looking forward to seeing my family. I find myself visualizing my wife coming with my kids running up to give me hugs. We plan to celebrate a delayed Christmas holiday. I have a couple of surprises for my girls that I'm looking forward to giving to them. I don't look forward to the flight home or the transit time sitting and waiting but it is endurable knowing what is at the end.

And I look forward to getting back home to my airmen at Andrews and to my squadrons, to getting back in touch with my folks and getting to know the news one, and even moving into my new digs over at Civil Engineering so I can be closer to the bulk of my people.

Again, to all who supported my work from back home through sending items for Operation Outreach, it has made a huge difference not only in the morale of our folks but also in my ability to connect with our folks. You too were outstanding.

Blessings to all.