COMMENTARY: New wing vice commander pledges to serve Tinker

  • Published
  • By Col. Scott Merrell
  • 72nd Air Base Wing vice commander
o begin with, I really want to thank all of Team Tinker for their warm welcome for myself and my family. Alecia and I could not be happier to be here and to be joining the Wildcatter community. As the 72nd Air Base Wing vice commander, I'm going to be "all in" for whatever this job may throw at me, but I really work in direct support of Col. Allen Jamerson in implementing his vision. I know that we'll work as a team to accomplish more for this base and its greatest resource, its people. I've already met scores of great people, both those that wear the uniform and those that don't, who continue to awe me with their pride, passion, and professionalism -- that's what makes jobs like these memorable.

As you know, our mission here in the 72nd ABW is to "Provide full-spectrum installation support and expeditionary combat capability." That's a great way of saying we're taking care of the many and diverse missions that we host here on Tinker, as well as provide for the fight forward. We can't do that without first taking care of our people -- military, civilian and their families. I don't mean just the 72nd ABW, but all the units that co-exist, team, and partner with us here to perform a variety of eye-watering missions.

That's where I hope to make the most impact in my time here at Tinker, taking care of our people by working every day, in any way I can, to support their needs and, when possible, to develop and mentor not only our current leaders, but also the leaders of tomorrow. I know that the other commanders and directors here are already leading in this area, so I expect to be in good company.

I think that's the bedrock of any vital organization -- being a good steward in the care-and-feeding of its greatest resources. The dictionary tells us stewardship is "the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one's care." That is what we have here at Tinker. We are entrusted with the care of great resources that include not only the physical aspects of this base, but also all of our enlisted, officer, civilian and contractor members, and their families. That also extends to the surrounding community.

Throughout my career, I've had the great good fortune of having others take the time to mentor me, and I took careful note of how they always took time to recognize the hard work that all of their personnel do for them every day. Little things, like saying thank you or just stopping to listen to someone's story have the greatest, or longest lasting, impact sometimes.

I hope to continue that tradition of stewardship, and I know it's one that Col. Jamerson believes in as well, so that we can provide that necessary support, and sometimes heartfelt thanks, to the hard-working men and women here on Tinker as we continue to provide combat-ready Airmen in the service of our nation.

My deepest thanks for the welcome I received from you. I look forward to getting to know more about this base, and its people, in the coming weeks, and seeing your "can-do" spirit in action!