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Colonel Mijares praises workers’ successes

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- When Col. Ray Mijares came to Tinker two years ago, he said he looked forward to learning how depot maintenance interlocked with supply chain management. The colonel not only grasped a better understanding, but also learned how other pieces completed the Air Force Sustainment Center puzzle. Yet, among the greatest gift he gained was a significant appreciation for the people who make the mission happen.

As the 848th Supply Chain Management Group commander prepares for his next assignment, he said he will let the lessons learned at Tinker guide him in his position at the National Capital Region in Washington, D.C. Colonel Mijares will work for the deputy assistant secretary of Defense, Defense Continuity and Crisis Management.

"This is by far the most challenging job I've had in my 25-year career. But the people with whom I work, have made coming to work with a big smile on my face easy," said Colonel Mijares. "I gained so much knowledge on wholesale logistics. I'm grateful to have learned so much about military acquisition and the Air Force Supply Chain."

Colonel Mijares said to achieve success he quickly learned the importance of partnerships and understanding there were some elements that were out of his control.
"This is the first time where so much of our success is based on organizations not within my span of control," he said. "Luckily, building partnerships is my forte and we have been blessed with many superb partnerships. And, by working together, we are able to effectively support the warfighters."

He did a good job said Tami Goodwin, 848th SCMG Supplier Relationship Management chief.

"Colonel Mijares' outstanding professionalism, dedication to duty and supreme leadership over the last two years has allowed him to cultivate exceptional relationships with many of Tinker's strategic suppliers. These connections have proven to be invaluable in resolving key issues and providing extraordinary supply chain support for the warfighter," she said. "He has earned the respect and admiration of the entire logistics community. He will be greatly missed and we wish him the best on his new endeavor."

Within his tenure, his employees achieved a 100 percent availability level for war-reserve engines. The engines were coded green. As of today, only one of the 487 engines is coded "red."

The 848th SCMG also increased the KC-135 Stratotanker boom fill rate. At one point, it had less than a 50 percent fill rate. Today, it is at a 121-percent fill rate.

"Colonel Mijares delivered better warfighter support as evidenced by all his key metrics going in the right direction," said Gilbert Montoya, AFSC Logistics director. "His tenure helped the 848th SCMG exceed their perceived limits and the group was able to deliver art of the possible results. While not having supply chain in his background when he arrived I can truly say that as he departs I consider him a supply chain expert. We wish him good luck and Godspeed in his next assignment."

Steven Alsup, 448th Supply Chain Management Wing director, agreed.

"Colonel Mijares has done an outstanding job leading the 848th SCMG through some unprecedented changes and challenges such as stand-up of the AFSC and sequestration," he said. "Even with these changes and challenges, neither he nor his team ever lost focus on supporting the warfighter and depot customers... the performance metrics for the 848th have never been better than during the period under Colonel Mijares' leadership."

At Colonel Mijares next assignment, he will be one of only a few military members. Although that may have intimidated him in previous positions, that is no longer the case; the supply chain management group is primarily comprised of civilians.

"Tinker, in general, and my group, especially, is primarily made up of civilian Airmen," he said. "So the experience gained from leading a large civilian organization has laid the foundation for effectively working in another primarily civilian organization."

Regardless of their civilian or military affiliation, both groups said they are glad to have worked with him, particularly Col. Tim Henke.

"I was excited to have the chance to work with Ray Mijares again. He built a reputation at the Pentagon as one of the top logistics officers in the Air Force, and also one of those officers who senior leaders send to the toughest jobs. He is one of the hardest working loggies in the Air Force," said Colonel Henke, 448th SCMW vice director. "Ray's inspired leadership, and the great performance and teamwork from the men and women of the 848th SCMG, has had a tremendous, positive impact across Department of Defense and our allied nation customers. The 848th team has cut their costs by more than 20 percent during Ray's tenure, and at the same time improved support to the warfighters, with the metrics to prove it. Ray, his deputy director Bob Valdez, and the 848th SCMG, are one of AFSC's leaders in pursing cost-effective readiness. We will all miss Colonel Mijares, but know our loss is the Undersecretary of Defense's gain when Ray moves to the National Capital Region next month."

Karen Lambert, 423rd Supply Chain Management Squadron Hydraulics Actuators Flight chief, said she'll miss his spirit and caring gestures.

"Colonel Mijares was a true wingman and he took the time stop by to check on people, and if they were not there he would leave a note," she said. "It was nice that he took the time from his busy schedule to see how you were doing."

Colonel Mijares will say goodbye to his organization at 10 a.m. on July 10 at the Tinker Club at his change of command.