Wing commander highlights way ahead

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla -- Wing Airmen informed of force shaping, mission expansion.

In three separate commander’s calls May 26, Airmen of the 16th Special Operations Wing were informed of pending force-shaping cuts and potential expansion of the special operations mission.

Col. Norman Brozenick Jr., 16th SOW commander, called the mandatory formations to open the information flow on the upcoming changes to the Air Force and Hurlburt Field, as well as remind Airmen about the 101 Critical Days of Summer.

Four guests spoke at the 8 a.m. session.

Lt. Col. Carl Williams, Air Force Special Operations Command A1, explained that the Air Force is cutting more than 30,000 people in the coming year.

“The end sum for the Air Force is still a zero,” he said.

Another side to the expansion of AFSOC is the potential basing of another special operations wing on the western half of the United States.

“There is a need for a second base – just look around on our ramp at all the growth,” said Lt. Col. Lewis Jordan, AFSOC A5.

“We can’t afford to put it all at Hurlburt. The base can’t expand north, east, west and, definitely, not south.

“No decisions have been made,” he said. “I can’t tell you when, or which units will move, or how fast it will happen. If the decision were made tonight, I wouldn’t foresee any units moving in the next 18 months.”

With that said, Colonel Brozenick stepped in. “It (moving people or assets) is not going to happen tomorrow,” the wing commander said.

West-coast basing may be a distant future, but a recent past — Memorial Day — began the 101 Critical Days of Summer safety campaign.

Maj. Dan Wilson, 16th SOW Safety, and Mr. Don Williams, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and 16th Operations Group honorary commander, hammered home that safety is important all the time, but the 101 Critical Days of Summer – the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day – is a period when, historically, the number of on- and off-duty injuries spike.

Mr. Williams reminded the audience to “listen to that little voice in your head” concerning boating safety, and drinking and driving.

In closing, Colonel Brozenick reminded the audience of the true purpose of Memorial Day – to honor those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our country and democracy.

The crowd was called to attention, and the names of special operators who have died in operations Iraqi Freedom.