December Commander's View Published Dec. 5, 2009 By Col. Paul Hargrove 146AW Channel Islands ANGS, Calif. -- We are wrapping up another busy year in the Channel Islands Air National Guard. I would like to thank all of you for a very successful year in the 146th Airlift Wing. We had our ORE and ORI in the first part of the year. You couldn't have done better, earning an overall excellent for the ORI. We had MAFFS training and certified the new MAFFS II unit in May. Numerous personnel have deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, returning safe and performing outstandingly in the war on terror. Security Forces deployed recently to the Middle East for an extended deployment. Operations and Maintenance are preparing for their deployments, leaving shortly after Christmas. I wish all of our personnel a safe and successful deployment, with an equally safe return home. Several of your senior leaders attended the Joint Senior Leadership Conference in National Harbor, Md. during November. We heard several noteworthy speakers including Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mullins, and retired General Barry McCaffrey. I learned much from these speeches, but a couple of points in particular stood out. Gen. McCaffrey had just returned from Afghanistan a couple of days earlier when he spoke. He said that our success in Iraq will be determined in the next two years. If Iraq holds up and doesn't implode into revolution, it should remain stable in the future. He gave his opinion of Afghanistan, also. He thinks we have about three years of combat ahead and ten years of nation building, at a cost of about $500 billion additional dollars. By the time you read this, President Obama will have announced his plans for Afghanistan. An additional 30,000 troops are being added immediately to surge the war in that region. Gen. McCaffrey may be right on track with his estimation. Two updates on the objectives for the wing. The J acquisition by the U.S. Forest Service is stalled in an appropriations bill in a coordinating committee. The committee will either add the C-130J acquisition proposal to the bill or delete it. We are waiting for the result and have contacted everyone we can think of to assist in the process. I will update you when I have more information. The alternative work week is scheduled to take effect on March 1st, 2010 here at the base. We will remain open Monday- Friday, but will be minimally staffed on Mondays. This will hopefully be a good morale boost for the full-time force here at the 146th AW. We have a pretty good case of burn out at the wing and this hopefully will help solve that problem. I would like to close my article this month by wishing all personnel and their families a Merry Christmas. Please enjoy the holidays and have a wonderful New Year!!