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Reflect on accomplishments, focus on 2006

Hurlburt Field, Fla. -- What a year it has been. Just think about it. 

The year began just as the three previous years – Air Commandos doing what they do best, continuing to support the Global War on Terrorism. We started off at a sprint, and the pace only got quicker. 

Hurricane season started off quickly as the first named storm of the summer, Tropical Storm Arlene, made landfall just to our west. The next month, Hurricane Dennis blew through and delivered a bigger punch to the Emerald Coast. 

But, the storms proved to be no match for the resilience of Team Hurlburt as we pulled together and quickly overcame the challenge.

As the alphabet soup of storms continued, Hurlburt was called upon to provide relief to our neighbors in Mississippi and Louisiana after hurricanes Katrina and Rita ravaged the area. The outpouring of support and compassion for our brothers and sisters along the Gulf Coast from our Airmen and their families was unbelievable. 

Did all of this bring a halt to our no-fail mission downrange? No way. We continued to deliver our specialized air power in Iraq, Afghanistan and wherever called upon by the president. It’s because of your dedication to the mission that the Iraqi people held their first democratic election this year and Afghanis now have hope of further developing their democracy. 

This is just a sample of what we’ve accomplished in 2005. Now it’s time for some much-deserved time with our friends and families to celebrate the holiday season. 

When you make the trip to join your loved ones, I ask that you do so safely. Make sure you get plenty of rest before hitting the road. I know everyone is eager to spend time with family and friends, but don’t speed. The few extra minutes you’ll cut off driving time isn’t worth the life you stand to lose if you get in an accident. 

No matter where you spend the holidays, keep in your hearts our brothers and sisters in arms who continue to fight for freedom overseas. Open up your homes to their families and to those Airmen who remain here, unable to go back to their own. 

Also, keep in your minds the Airmen who are no longer with us. Regardless of if they were lost at home or abroad, their memories will remain with us all. 

So, Team Hurlburt, my heartfelt thanks go to you for all you’ve done for the base, the community and the nation throughout the year. Col. Paul Harmon, 16th Special Operations Wing vice commander, Chief Master Sgt. Todd Small, 16th SOW command chief, and I wish you and yours the happiest of holidays