Col. C.K. Hyde, 314th Airlift Wing commander

Col. C.K. Hyde, 314th Airlift Wing commander

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. -- As most people who know me will tell you, I'm passionate about our Air Force and the Airmen who defend our nation.

As Jodie, Robert, George and I leave, we are grateful for the opportunity to have served with the 314th Airlift Wing, the men and women of Little Rock AFB, and our community partners who make up Team Little Rock. In our two years at "The Rock," our appreciation for our Airmen, their service and their commitment to excellence has only grown and renewed our zeal for our Air Force and its mission. You have inspired us.

I'll always treasure the opportunity to have been associated with the legacy of Col. Clayton Stiles, our wing's first and most distinguished commander, and the 314th Troop Carrier Group. These first combat airlifters left home in 1942 and didn't return until World War II's end in 1945, leaving a legacy of valor, sacrifice and accomplishment that continued through Korea and Vietnam to the present. Their birthright defined us and challenges us today.

I couldn't be prouder of the current 314th AW team. You exceeded every expectation, raised the standards of professionalism, conquered every challenge and exceeded every goal. You won an Outstanding Unit Award, the Daedalian Award for the best maintenance in Air Education and Training Command, the AETC Vern Orr Award for the most effective use of human resources, and 36 other Air Force and Major Command awards.

You're still the reigning champions for the best logistics compliance inspection score in AETC, trained over 3,600 combat delivery Airmen and expanded our role as the Air Force's largest operational international training program. Our partners around the world link procurement of C-130s to training in the 314th Airlift Wing; the common theme is you, the professional Airmen of the 314th--you are the best.

The awards and your global reputation are indicators of your professionalism, but your legacy is more than accolades, it's the foundation of combat airlift that you build and the commitment you instill in future warriors. The commitment and teamwork for which combat airlifters are known starts in the 314th and extends to every mission flown around the world. I leave with confidence that the asymmetric advantage and operational flexibility your training provides to combatant commanders will produce victory in the current wars and future conflicts. I also leave knowing that future Airmen, Sailors, Marines and Soldiers, like future Army 2nd Lt. Robert Hyde, can depend on the combat airlifters that you have trained.

Military endeavors and warfare are team efforts, and we have great partners at Little Rock AFB. Col. Mike Minihan, Col. Greg Otey and the 19th Airlift Wing team have provided outstanding support. On behalf of the 314th team, thank you for enabling our Airmen and mission--from medical support to logistics, it's all been first class. The 189th and 314th Airlift Wings share a common mission and make up the world's best total force training team. We could not have asked for better partners, and Col. Jim Summers ensured the relationship between our wings set a total force standard--thank you.

Our military derives its ultimate support from the American people, and we have been blessed with outstanding community involvement and support. Our appreciation for our community partners and all you have done for Little Rock AFB and the Airmen of the world's greatest Air Force has only grown. You provide untold time and resources to support our mission and people, and adopt us as members of your communities and families. It's an honor to serve in your military.

To the men and women of the 314th Airlift Wing, thank you for your service and commitment to the defense of our county in a time of war. May God Bless you and keep you until we meet again.