Training, Exercising and Innovating

Staff Sgt. Neah Howard, 460th Medical Group medical standards NCO in charge, attends to the simulated injuries of Team Buckley members during the Panther Lighting exercise March 25, 2015, on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. Panther Lightning is Buckley AFB’s version of the Strategic Command exercise, Global Lightning, which is an Air Force-wide exercise that focuses on all combatant commands and their missions.

Staff Sgt. Neah Howard, 460th Medical Group medical standards NCO in charge, attends to the simulated injuries of Team Buckley members during the Panther Lighting exercise March 25, 2015, on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. Panther Lightning is Buckley AFB’s version of the Strategic Command exercise, Global Lightning, which is an Air Force-wide exercise that focuses on all combatant commands and their missions.

I’d like to personally thank each of you for your outstanding contributions to our semi-annual wartime exercise last week known as GLOBAL THUNDER and our BAFB installation exercise, PANTHER THUNDER. We exercised our wartime missions, shook the dust off our plans, worked through stressful emergency responses, explored potential vulnerabilities, and tested numerous communication paths as we fought through simulated adversaries and endured the usual fog and friction of conflict.

Throughout the week, you performed at the top of your game—this was the most productive and professional team I’ve ever seen in an installation exercise. I’m truly excited about the innovation and the “never die” attitude I saw among our wing’s warriors and our installation partners. When a roadblock was put in your way, you found three ways around it; when you were faced with increasing challenges, you found better solutions; and you were positive and professional the entire time—even when it meant long hours or enduring inconveniences around the base. You took risks when needed and together we found better ways we can, and will, respond to a new variety of threats. Well done.

Our senior leaders realize that the increasing number of exercises we’ve had this year on and around BAFB is in addition to your daily duties and your expanding missions – in many cases with decreased manpower support. Moreover, you’re leading the way with mission and doing more than just “showing up” to an exercise. In testing our combat capabilities and contingency responses, we’re truly learning lessons and revising our processes and not simply repeating previous mistakes. This increased focus will keep us all at the top of our game to protect our people and preserve our mission, regardless if our opponent is a future adversary or a natural disaster.

As General Patton said, “Practice those things in peacetime that you intend to do in war,” because “a pint of sweat will save a gallon of blood.” Thanks for kicking it up a notch, Team Buckley, I’m humbled to serve with you.