Thank you Team McConnell

  • Published
  • By Col. James Vechery
  • 22nd Air Refueling Wing Commander
I would like to begin my first of what I hope to be many articles in this publication by simply saying "Thank You." Thank you for the very warm welcome you extended to me and my family. Robin, Taylor, Starner, Mari, and I are extremely excited to be here and become part of the McConnell family. This is our first Kansas adventure and we are ecstatic with everything McConnell and Wichita has to offer.

Speaking of family, I would like to repeat a portion of my change of command ceremony speech; because I think it is very important for you to know your new commander. If you were at the ceremony, this will reinforce what you heard, if you were not able to attend this will help me communicate my focus.

Over the years, I have put a great deal of thought into my priorities and goals. They are best summed up in the word FAMILY. The first three letters in the word FAMILY describe my priorities and the last three letters describe things I value. This word means a great deal to me, because I consider family the cornerstone of our society.

First, "F" stands for faith. I am a Christian and have a strong belief in God. I try to live my life everyday in a manner pleasing to Him. We are very fortunate to live in a country where we are free to practice religion and it is important for you to know what guides me.

Second, "A" stands for affection. This priority is my loved ones, which extends from my immediate family to my friends and co-workers. I place high value on the people around me, because people are what matter most.

The "M" stands for military. You might be initially surprised that I ranked this 3rd on my priority list, but I discovered many years ago that if my first 2 priorities were not in check, my military effectiveness was diminished. The military is a calling and a way of life, but faith and family ARE my life.

Now let me turn to the three things I value.

The "I" stands for integrity. I believe this to be a cornerstone of one's character. Simply put, integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is looking. Society looks at the military with an elevated sense of respect and admiration. With this respect comes responsibility to live to a higher standard.

The "L" stands for loyalty. I believe loyalty means total support, but it does not mean being a yes-person. It is important to exhibit loyalty in all directions, vertically and horizontally. We need to be loyal to each other and the cause of freedom.

Finally, the "Y" stands for YOU. I would like to thank each of you for serving our country. I appreciate each and every one of you and value your selfless service. Day-in and day-out you make the U.S. flourish as the world's only superpower. The one thing that makes the Air Force a wonderful career is the people we get to serve with. As your commander, I will do everything in my power to ensure you are properly taken care of, because I have a fundamental belief that if I take care of you, you will take care of the mission.

On a final note, I carefully chose the picture to accompany this article, because I want to reinforce the importance of family to me. I am very blessed to have such a wonderful family which now extends to all of you. I look forward to meeting you all in the next few weeks.

We Lead!