Salutes & Awards

July 31, 2014

Colonel Blanchard bids farewell

DT_pict3

Desert Lightning Warriors,

It has been the singular honor of my 23 plus year career to serve you as your commander. Your dedication to excellence, service to the nation, and high standards of integrity never cease to amaze me, and have left an indelible mark on my memories of service to our USAF.

Before I even arrived at Davis-Monthan in 2012, I got to witness DLT Airmen in the fight at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan while I served there as the Vice Wing Commander. Watching them in action gave me great confidence in the installation I would lead and made me anxious to take command.

I arrived here in August of 2012 and Team D-M exceeded every one of my lofty expectations. Over the course of two years I saw D-M’s Airmen constantly come and go from deployments. I witnessed our operations and maintenance package from the Bulldogs prepare, deploy and return from a stellar deployment where they brought the fight to the enemy with tenacity, precision and professionalism.

I watched subordinate commanders and front line supervisors lead with vision, dedication and great attitudes through the challenges of sequestration, government shutdown, a major ACC inspection, and two damaging weather events.

I saw first-hand excellence in planning and execution as D-M hosted two Heritage Flight Training Conferences, two Hawgsmoke gunnery competitions, two Angel Thunder personnel recovery exercises, countless DV visits and tours, and one of the largest airshows in the history of the base. All were first class events lauded by everyone who participated.

Finally, the true highlights were spending time with you warriors: staff meetings (yes…even those), Airmen and NCO breakfasts, SNCO and CGO lunches, ALS graduations, Annual Awards banquets, the Air Force Ball, Fighter Squadron Roll Calls, a Red Flag Deployment, office meetings, EOD hikes, CATM shooting immersions, flying with A-10 upgrading pilots and just walking around the installation visiting. Every one of those events and interactions are what truly mattered about my time in command because the greatness of our Air Force is completely dependent on the greatness of our AIRMEN.

Thank you all for your service, sacrifice, and dedication – our USAF and country are in good hands. ATTACK!!

Col Blanchard




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(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Racheal E. Watson)

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