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September 7, 2012

Luke 1 departs, praises Thunderbolts

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Brig. Gen. JD HARRIS

Brig. Gen. JD Harris, 56th Fighter Wing commander, and his wife, Heather, prepare to depart Luke Air Force Base after a two-year tour here. Harris has been selected to serve as vice commander of the 5th Air Force at Yokota Air Base, Japan.

We serve the Constitution of the United States; that is the oath we all take at the beginning of our careers and periodically throughout our service. From what I have witnessed here at Luke Air Force Base, we are doing exactly what we are supposed to be doing.

We are training the World’s Greatest F-16 pilots, the World’s Greatest F-16 maintainers, and Deploying Combat Ready Airmen, day in and day out. I could not ask for a better team in this endeavor.

When we see a teammate stumble, a good wingman is there, ready to lend a helping hand. We have done just that, both inside the wing and for our teammates in the community. Going the extra mile means accepting tasks that are not normally in our job jar, but are requirements that still must get accomplished. Whether training instructors for other wings, sending our best for pre-inspection visits, or volunteering for deployments that no one else can seem to fill, Team Luke has answered the call.

Your accomplishments stand out loud and clear: Luke’s selection to receive 72 F-35s, earning an “Excellent” on the Unit Compliance Inspection with zero major findings and an “Outstanding” on the Health Services Inspection. You also garnered 228 awards from higher headquarters, including AETC’s Commander in Chief’s Installation Excellence Award. Simply I say to you, well done.

As Heather and I depart Luke, we do so with a smile. Partially because we know we will be back here, back home sometime in the future. But also because of the team that is in place now. The mission will continue to get done, and morale will continue to soar. It all comes down to our best and most valuable resource, our Airmen. We have the best here at Luke, at all levels. So as we say farewell, we already know you will succeed, and we look forward to watching your successes from afar. Aim High!




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