Working with America's best

DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- I would take this opportunity to thank the Davis-Monthan team and the 55th Electronic Combat Group for a great year -- I have immensely enjoyed my time commanding the COMPASS CALL team and being a part of the Desert Lightning team. I will miss the wonderfully talented Airmen, who impressively have and will continue to carry on the warfighting spirit. It has been a pleasure working with every one of you.

The exceptional quality of the COMPASS CALL team was recently highlighted when five of our Airmen won Air Combat Command awards for their superior work this past year. I'd like to introduce our "Fab Five!"

First, Master Sgt. Ken Overton of the 755th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron won ACC's General Lew Allew Jr. Trophy for "maintenance leadership." Sergeant Overton earned this award as a lead production superintendent, generating 1,662 sorties with only half of his aircraft available, due to depot maintenance and a major system modification.

While deployed to Bagram Air Base,  Afghanistan, Sergeant Overton's maintenance oversight drove an astounding 96 percent mission-capable rate for 48 consecutive on-time combat missions. Back at D-M, his integrated maintenance and logistics teams smashed the ACC cannibalization standard to an incredibly low 2.5 percent.

Staff Sgt. Joe Creech, also of the 755 AMXS, was ACC's Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Thomas N. Barnes Crew Chief of the Year Award winner - the top crew chief in the Air Force's largest major command. Sergennt Creech was the lead crew chief and flight expediter for our 43rd Expeditionary Electronic Combat Squadron at Ali Al-Salem Air Base, Kuwait, for Operation IRAQI FREEDOM, where he generated 145 combat missions. His assigned aircraft went on to fly 167 combat missions throughout the year, while sustaining the theater's best mission-capable rate of 96 percent. The diligent efforts of Sergeant Creech enabled the continuous electronic warfare protection of coalition ground forces and convoy routes in Iraq.

Master Sgt. Pam Burnley, a stellar mission crew supervisor and senior linguist in the 755th Operations Support Squadron, was recognized as the ACC Red Erwin Outstanding Enlisted Aircrew Award winner for the senior noncommissioned officer category.

She deployed twice as the operations superintendent for the 43rd EECS at Ali Al-Salem Air Base, Kuwait. As the "Ops Super," Sergeant Burnley was instrumental in the execution of more than 200 combat missions supporting U.S. Central Command's mission countering improvised explosive devices in Iraq and Afghanistan. Back at D-M, she was hand-picked to lead the combat readiness flight in preparing for five operational readiness exercises and the operational readiness inspection while maintaining the real-world deployment of over 10 air expeditionary force-equivalent rotations for more than 100 personnel. 

Senior Airman Sarah McRae, of the 41st Electronic Combat Squadron, was the ACC winner of the Red Erwin Outstanding Enlisted Aircrew Award for the Airman category.

Airman McRae is an airborne maintenance technician onboard the EC-130H aircraft, and she deployed three times in 2006 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and OIF. While deployed, she amassed an impressive 103 combat missions and 558 combat hours while executing 458 electronic warfare support requests by coalition ground forces. She was an easy choice as the "airman of the quarter" for the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing and the 41st ECS Airman of the year.

The final ACC-level winner I want to highlight recently came to us from the 355th Operations Support Squadron. Tech. Sgt. Corinne Jones won ACC's Outstanding Aviation Resource Manager of the Year Award for the noncommissioned officer category. Sergeant Jones was the NCO in charge of aviation records at the 355th OSS, where she led a 50 percent-manned office to a 100 percent compliance rating during the January 2007 unit compliance inspection and was recognized as a "Superior Performer." She identified a system error preventing data to flow from the Military Personnel Data System to the Air Force Portal, which prevented a potential flight pay error involving thousands of dollars. Sergeant Jones was also recognized as the 355th OSS NCO of the second quarter of 2006.

The Air Force is blessed to have the nation's brightest people, and I am reminded of that everyday working here at Team D-M. We are a nation at war and we are fighting an enemy that is not confined to borders or the rules of war. Our best resource and the key to victory is the ingenuity, leadership and warfighting spirit of our Airmen.