Thank you and Godspeed Flying Tigers!

  • Published
  • By Col. Kenneth Todorov
  • 23rd Wing commander
I can still remember my first day in the local area in 2005. I hadn't even checked into the base yet, and Lynn and I were spending some time looking at schools and places to live. We were touring one of the local schools when we noticed a TV set tuned to a "special report" announcing the results of the latest Base Realignment and Closure commission. The news for Moody Air Force Base was positive...the base would remain open and the 23rd Fighter Group and their maintainers would be moved from North Carolina to Moody. 

Little did I know then that it would be the start of a whirlwind four years that would culminate in an incredible two years as the 23rd Wing commander. 

Since then it's been non-stop. From director of staff of the then 347th Rescue Wing, to a year as the 23rd Wing vice commander and then as the commander, I've witnessed some phenomenal accomplishments. You, the Airmen of the 23rd Wing and Team Moody, deserve all the credit. I can't say thank you enough for the job that you've done! 

From growing the base by nearly 1,000 Airmen and their families, to the nearly $140 million in infrastructure growth and improvement, to the standup of a second wing at Moody, change has been the true constant for the Flying Tigers. 

When I arrived, our "Rescue Wing" was still wearing Air Force Special Operations Command patches, except for our tenant partners in the 820th Security Forces Group, who later became part of our wing, and later still were moved to the 93d Air Ground Operations Wing. We were solely focused on combat search and rescue, and no one came close to doing it as well. 

Then, on another spring day in 2006, came another call. Our chief of staff of the Air Force had a vision. "I can't imagine our Air Force without the Flying Tigers as a Wing," he said. "Let's make it happen at Moody," he continued. And we did. 

Every Flying Tiger Airman has had a hand in making the wing what it is today. From the crew chief who left Fayetteville, N.C., to move his family to South Georgia; to the petroleum, oil and lubricants Airmen, security forces and explosive ordnance disposal Airmen who deployed time and again; from the loadmaster, flight engineer, gunner, and pararescue jumper, to the medical technician in the medical group who made sure her patients were well taken care of; from the captain in the 75th Fighter Squadron ("Attack") who helped rack up more than 10,000 combat flying hours, to the ammunitions Airman who made sure he had what he needed to fly, fight, and win; from our Total Force Integration Reserve partners to the Airmen on the wing staff, the list goes on and on! From Arizona to Avon Park, Fla.; from Nevada to Georgia; from places around the globe, all of you can be proud of what you've accomplished! 

Most times you made it look easy, but I know it wasn't always that way. Together we handled our share of adversity, setbacks and even failures; we learned and grew as a team. Faced with problems, you did what Airmen do best...worked together to fix them. It made us better. 

The one common denominator to all the successes, to all the triumphs, to all the accomplishments was you! Airmen (civilian Airmen and those in uniform) have done all the work, have made all the difference. 

Two years ago I asked that you develop and grow the Airmen around you, that you always be prepared to deploy, and that you were ready to fight and win. You delivered in spades and you served our nation well. You've lived up to the core values of our great Air Force and you've accomplished so much. Our nation is safer because of you, 23rd Wing Airmen, and the work you've done. 

As my family and I prepare to head west, I ask that you continue to do great things for our nation and our Air Force. Support your new wing commander like you supported me and together you'll be an even greater team than you are today. 

We will never forget the experiences and friendships forged here. It has been a humbling experience serving you and I am grateful to you all. Thank you, and Godspeed Flying Tigers!