2019 Year in Review
By Col. Joel Safranek, 436th Airlift Wing commander
/ Published December 23, 2019
DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- As I work with the movers to pack my house, it has given me time to reflect on my Dover experience. I can honestly say this assignment has been the highlight of my career, and my family and I will greatly miss Dover. A large part of that is due to the community which surrounded us over the past year and a half. That community is as small and tight-knit as our neighbors on Bamboo Court (an exceptional group of people) and as broad as the entire base or surrounding cities. Regardless of how it is defined, the experience has been special, and as members of that community, you should be proud.
You should be proud of the environment you have helped to create and sustain, as well as the mission you accomplish every day. Our ability to provide rapid global airlift, combat-ready Airmen and unrivalled installation support is amazing. Although, we are not alone in these missions.
There are many wings in AMC who have similar missions; but with 12 assignments under my belt, I can testify, Dover has a special way of accomplishing them that sets us apart. Take pride in what you have done. It is not always easy, but many things worth doing are not easy. Delivering excellence is no different.
Along those lines is the task our nation has handed us: to be prepared to defend against rising threats, such as China and Russia. This is much different than what many of us have known over the past few decades and requires us to think and train differently than we have in the past.
During my time at Dover, we have just begin to accomplish this. Dover recently led the way in the Air Force with exercising while intentionally cutting power and having the Delaware Civil Air Patrol fly small drones as “Red Air” during the exercise. Both are “firsts” for the Air Force.
Although I am extremely proud to have seen Dover push the envelope in these areas, it is always an outgoing commander’s fear that the base will fall prey to other, changing priorities. I challenge all to not lose sight of what you have done and the work that remains. There is so much more to do, and honestly, it is not easy work; but as stated before, many things worth doing are not easy. Continue to prepare for a high-end fight, regardless of the future distractions which will inevitably arise.
As I move on to Scott Air Force Base and United States Transportation Command, I look forward to watching, from a distance, as Dover continues to push the outer envelope. I can only assume my pride in Dover and its Airmen will continue to grow as I look onward. With this pride, Hana and I will share our stories about Dover’s mission, its great sense of community and our extraordinary Dover experience.