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Thanksgiving message from the commander

DUKE FIELD, Fla. --

Fellow Citizen Air Commandos

Since Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863, Americans from all backgrounds have set aside time at the end of November to give thanks. Thanksgiving is a day that allows us to slow down and take a moment to reflect on the many blessings we have to be grateful for in life, even in 2020!

Each of you - Airmen, civilians and family members - are a blessing to the 919th Special Operations Wing, our Air Force, and our nation. I am truly thankful and indebted to you for your service and sacrifice. You have continued to excel despite a challenging year. Thank you for what you do every day. Our people are what makes us the premier organization we are, and the wing is stronger with you in it.

As you take advantage of these next few days to visit family and friends, recharge for the holidays ahead, or simply enjoy the downtime of a long weekend, I ask that you always keep safety in mind. It is important to connect with family and loved ones, but I ask that you do it smartly. COVID-19 cases locally and worldwide are on the rise at a remarkable rate. Please do your part to reduce the spread of this virus.

For some, the holidays can be a tough time. Don’t be a stranger! Check in on your wingman and remember there are many resiliency resources available. Just because we have to stay physically distanced doesn’t mean we need to be socially disconnected. A phone call, a video call, or sometimes just a text can go a long way.

Much of the 919th Special Operations Wing is deployed this Thanksgiving and through the holiday season. Please remember all of our brothers and sisters deployed to distant points around the globe. Their families will undoubtedly have an empty chair at the table and a heavy heart while they are away from home.

Thank you again for your service to the nation. You represent the very best our country has to offer, and I’m humbled to be a part of your team. Stay safe and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Col Kevin Merrill