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Holiday message to Cannon’s Air Commandos

(U.S. Air Force graphic/Staff Sgt. Alexx Pons)

(U.S. Air Force graphic/Staff Sgt. Alexx Pons)

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- Editor’s note: The following message is from Col. Ben Maitre, 27th Special Operations Wing commander, Col. Matt Smith, 27th SOW vice commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Randy Scanlan, 27th SOW command chief.

The holiday season brings to a close another outstanding year for Air Force Special Operations Command and the 27th Special Operations Wing. Your continued dedication has kept us one of the most lethal and relevant special operations forces in history, and we thank you for the commitment you have exemplified that has brought us to where we are today.

The holiday season is also an opportunity for many of us to refocus our priorities, and to refresh and reenergize with family and friends. While this time of year should be a relaxing and joyous one, please remember how diligently we work year-round to minimize mishaps; every Air Commando should exercise vigilance and sound risk management during their holiday plans.

Pay attention to potential signs of depression; our team members that experience significant workplace stress or the loss of a significant relationship are particularly vulnerable and can exhibit withdrawal, diminished performance, misconduct, or substance abuse. If you or someone you know is having a difficult time with work- or home-related stress, there are many avenues to seek help. Talk to a family member, friend, first sergeant, commander, chaplain, or Military & Family Life Counselor. No matter who you choose, please find someone you or your teammate can confide in. You are all invaluable and irreplaceable members of the 27th SOW, of AFSOC, and of our nation.

The holidays also provide many opportunities for individuals to let their guard down to unsafe levels, whether pushing personal limits while driving, engaging in high-risk activities or actions, or through excessive consumption of alcohol. Whatever your plans are, we expect all individuals to personally assess risks, think ahead, and have alternate plans in case things go wrong. Remember the many support networks that are available if you need them; our entire team stands ready to support you or your family.

If all else fails and you need a ride, Airmen Against Drunk Driving is available: 575-784-AADD. Additionally, if you see one of our teammates struggling to make the right decision with respect to personal risk – duty requires you intervene and help.

Leaders please get involved through direct personal contact with your people. Know what your team members have planned and watch for changes in behavior that might need attention. We expect all supervisors to continue one-on-one contact with each of their subordinates before our team departs for the holidays. Always remember...your leadership can have a direct impact on the lives of your Airmen.

Additionally, while you are at home celebrating this season with your loved ones; take time to remember our deployed Air Commandos overseas. For those of you who are deployed down range or in-garrison, your call to duty has taken you away from family and friends this holiday season, and we thank you for your sacrifices. Without your professionalism, dedication and selfless valor, our wing's critical mission would not happen.

As we look ahead to 2016, the more effective we can be at executing our mission, the more efficiently the Air Force will be able to fly, fight and win. Each of you is a critical component of executing specialized airpower from a premier installation. It is an honor to serve each of you and with all of you.

With highest regard,

Col. Ben Maitre, 27th SOW commander
Col. Matt Smith, 27th SOW vice commander
Chief Master Sgt. Randy Scanlan, 27th SOW command chief