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Thank you for everything, Team Seymour

SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. -- The Airmen of the 4th Fighter Wing and all of Team Seymour have always trained hard to fulfill the trust America places in them, and they have never failed to deliver whatever our country needed when the chips were down. I am extremely proud to have served with each of you, and I want you to know that I sincerely appreciate the hard work you do.

In the past two years, we've seen a period of unprecedented stress, challenge and change for the United States Air Force, including the Base Realignment and Closure decisions, the tremendous operations tempo we've met to support the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the globe, and the force shaping initiatives that will change the shape of the Air Force's work force.

This wing has a spirit that has always allowed us to rise to any occasion and succeed ... anytime, anywhere. It gives me great pleasure to look back over your accomplishments.
We've provided expeditionary warriors from the Operations Group, Maintenance Group, Mission Support Group, Medical Group and the 23rd FG to support Operations Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. Our wing's F-15E and A/OA-10 aircrews flew combat sorties to support coalition objectives, working as a part of joint team to improve stability and security in the region and help establish democracy through the first-ever democratic elections in Iraq Afghanistan. We've had short-notice evacuations of our Strike Eagles, and our Mission Support Group was the lead support element for Air Force operations in JTF Katrina, enabling life-saving missions, and providing assistance and relief to the citizens of New Orleans. You've kept the F-15E Formal Training Unit on track, trained hundreds more Airmen for combat readiness with our expeditionary combat skills training program and looked for ways to adapt in our changing times.

Despite having hundreds and sometimes more than 1,000 Airmen gone at one time, the folks that remained behind were still able to do amazing things to maintain the 4th FW's standards of excellence. Our people, who make us the best installation in the Air Force, are recognized beyond the boundaries of the base. Each of our groups has its own success story to share.

The attitude that drives your performance is what makes this wing Fourth but First.
Your commanders have done their best to improve your working conditions by building world-class workplaces. We've enjoyed the largest single year of construction since the base opened in the 1950s, and next year promises even more. We have a new state-of-the-art fire station, upgrades to Heritage Park and the wing headquarters building, to include the command post, improved living conditions in the dormitories, a new Airmen's Center, driving safety programs and a fitness track slated to be ready for use in October.

This year, we celebrate 50 years of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base and the proud heritage we have with our mission and our community.

The relationship we have with Goldsboro and Wayne County is amazing. I can't say enough about the support our base receives from the city, the county, the members of the Seymour Support Council and the Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Committee, and the residents from the community who tell our Airmen and their families regularly that they appreciate what they do.

We face challenges every day - at home and in deployed environments - that are too big for us to handle alone. Keep watching out for each other and take care of your teammates. I believe in you and encourage you to always look out for each other as wingmen.

This assignment has been a wonderful experience I will treasure, and the high point of my time in the Air Force. Sara, Rebecca, Wade and I thank you for all that you have done to take care of us as a family.

I know you will accomplish even more under Col. Steve Kwast's command. I know the base and the community will continue to rely on each other's support, as we share in each other's daily struggles and celebrate our successes together.

The Holmes' family bids you a fond farewell, and we wish you the best of luck in your future opportunities to set the standard of excellence. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve with each of you - the Airmen of the 4th FW.
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