130th Airlift Wing Command Chief reflects on 2018, Looks to 2019

By Command Chief Master Sgt. Kevin Cecil | 130th Airlift Wing | Dec. 31, 2018

McLaughlin Air National Guard Base, W.Va. —

Hello fellow 130 Airlift Wing Airmen.

I was given the opportunity to write a piece to address our accomplishments in 2018, and a look ahead to the coming year.

First, let me say thank you so very much. Thank you for all of the hard work, dedication, and commitment that you have put forth during 2018. I am continually amazed at the way the efforts of so many individuals result in making the mission happen to such a high level of excellence.

During this last year I’ve watched our unit sent hundreds of our airmen out to support the federal mission on a scale never seen in our history. I have been to the airport countless times to watch families say goodbye. This is always heartbreaking, and I am humbled to witness the sacrifice that your families make to support you in your mission.  None of us could take one step in our success if it were not for the support and sacrifice made by our families. On the other side, I have also been there to witness the homecomings. It’s heartwarming to watch these reunions and see the joy at having you home and obvious pride in all that you do.

Aside from the federal mission, we have accomplished many other things over the past year. As always we have been there when called upon to provide support for everything from flag security details to major domestic operations.  We also did an outstanding job supporting the air show in coordination with the Yeager Airport staff and regional agencies of all types. Regardless of the mission, the men and women of the 130 AW are always there to answer the call.

This coming March we will hold a dining out entitled “Leaving a Legacy.” You may ask yourself why we want to focus on a legacy. I challenge you to consider the legacy that our predecessors have left for us. The founder of the WV Air National Guard, Brig. Gen. James K. McLaughlin, turned 100 years young on 7 December 2018.  General McLaughlin served in the Army Air Corp during the World War II and did so with bravery and distinction as a member of the mighty 8th Air Force.Like so many in his generation he returned home with the challenge to build upon his accomplishments.  We are all obligated to live up to the legacy left by him and so many like him through the years. 

In the coming year we will face new challenges.  We will seek to get better in areas that will make us stronger than we have ever been. We will continue to focus on developing ourselves through training and education. We will expand upon the ways we currently look at managing and developing our airmen. There will be many opportunities for deliberate engagement and mentoring across our wing. I encourage you all to seek these opportunities and do all that you can to make yourselves better in every way that you can. 

In the last few years, I have refined my personal approach to success and self-evaluation. I try to consider my actions as they relate to accountability, development, and commitment. 

Accountability for your personal and professional actions and conduct is the foundation for success. When you hold yourself accountable you do not make excuses or point fingers at others. When it is your responsibility you own it.  Be it your personal readiness, training, or mission accomplishment you must be “all in”. 

Development must be continuous. It must be pursued with an intensity of purpose. By continually seeking to expand and develop the knowledge that you have, you are also improving your ability to accomplish the mission. Mental, physical, and spiritual development builds resiliency and refreshes your outlook. 

In the military we raise our hands and make an oath that commits us to support and defend our nation and state, to follow orders and commit ourselves to the mission, even at our own peril. This is the ultimate expression of what it means to serve.  We are privileged to be able to do so and it is profoundly gratifying. It is not a right however, we do not have a right to serve our nation and state. We are evaluated to make sure we meet certain minimum standards before we even get to take that oath.  Just being given the opportunity to take the oath makes you part of a small part of the population.  To whom much is given much is expected.  So I challenge you to continually strive and commit yourselves to be better. The responsibility that we have to our nation and state demands it.  The good news is that you have proven time and time again that you are able to do so!

We had a great year in 2018, and 2019 is going to be even better! I want to thank you for taking a few minutes to read through this. I cannot express how much I admire and appreciate all that you do that makes the 130 AW so successful! I look forward to seeing everyone around the wing! Happy New Year!