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NEWS | Jan. 16, 2007

Base commander thanks Team Andrews

By Col. Paul R. Ackerley 316th Wing commander

Let me welcome everyone back from the holidays and wish you all a safe, successful and prosperous 2007.

2006 was a time of change for Andrews Air Force Base as we experienced the stand-up of the 79th Medical Wing, stand-up of the 316th Wing and the transition of Andrews from Air Mobility Command to the Air Force District of Washington as the host. Let me thank each of you for making this transition a success.

A highlight of that success was Team Andrews' performance during the recent State Funeral for our 38th President, Gerald R. Ford. From across the base and from multiple wings, Team Andrews' Airmen and Sailors supported the arrival and departure ceremonies at Andrews and many other funeral activities throughout the National Capital Region. The 89th Airlift Wing continued its long and well established professional reputation for excellence by providing the airlift for the 38th President and his family from California, to Washington, D.C., and then to Michigan. Feedback from Maj. Gen. Robert L. Smolen, commander, Air Force District of Washing-ton; the representative for the Ford family and the large press pool contingent was full of praise and thanks for Team Andrews' support and professionalism.

2007 promises to be just as exciting for Team Andrews as 2006. In addition to our day-to-day operational requirements, we will again host the Joint Service Open House 18-20 May and at least two of our wings will receive higher headquarters inspections this year.

Our collective efforts to make Andrews look better and to improve our mission, community and living areas is taking shape. Your support of "Andrews... Make it Yours" campaign is clearly visible in how much better the base appears each day. Money we received at the end of fiscal year 2006 will be used to fix many of our roads and roofs in 2007. We are already seeing that effort with the closure of Brook-ley Avenue to completely replace the road surface. There will be some minor traffic delays during the street closure, but after it is complete, we will have a new road without potholes.

This year will also see the completion of three major gate projects on Andrews. With the completion of our Main Gate, Virginia Gate and Pearl Harbor Gate projects, we will all experience improved throughput and fewer delays at our gates. I appreciate your patience while we complete these projects.

When I speak at the Newcomers Fair, I remind those recently assigned to Andrews that each day they have the opportunity to be a part of history that is written based on events taking place here. Whether on Andrews and defending the National Capital Region or deployed throughout the world in support of the Global War on Terrorism, Team Andrews continues to set the professional standard in defending our nation.

I thank each of you for what you do each day for this installation and for your service to our nation.