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A thank you for hardwork

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- As Airmen, two of our most important jobs are caring for each other and maintaining readiness.  Readiness means many different things across the wing, based on your given mission area; however, the one constant is our ability to execute any given mission whenever and wherever called upon. 

We frequently assess our readiness using exercises and simulated events.  Sadly, this week, the 96th Test Wing was called upon to respond to a real-world incident that put our readiness into action.

As you most likely know, a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter crashed in the waters near Hurlburt Field Tuesday evening, and the lives of 11 fellow service members were lost: four Soldiers and seven Marines.  Investigations into the cause of the crash are underway, and we will allow their teams to determine the answers to the many questions that remain.  In the meantime, please keep the families, friends and units of those lost, as well as our first responders, in your thoughts and prayers.  This accident is a huge loss for all of us throughout the Department of Defense.

This tragedy reminded me, yet again, of how amazing you all are--I thank you for your swift action, dedication and professionalism.  There were countless examples of Integrity, Service, and Excellence that shined through the solemn clouds this week.  There are simply too many to list.  I cannot thank you enough for how you've stood together in the face of adversity and represented our Air Force, the local community, and the 96th TW so well.  The manner in which you carried yourselves this week was truly awe-inspiring.

I'm proud to serve with all of you.