The Belle-Scott Enlisted Dinner marks the 67th year of the tradition of community members recognizing and honoring our military’s talented and dedicated enlisted corps. We are humbled by your hospitality, appreciation and praise.
Teamwork is the key to Scott Air Force Base’s success. The local businesses, community groups, and civic leaders do so much for those in uniform. Words alone, cannot express the effect that you collectively have on our ability to serve and defend this nation.
Every single day, each and every one of us relies on the local community in some way ... from sponsoring our morale programs, sending us care packages, making donations to the Airman’s Attic, baking cookies and collecting donations for the holidays. We cannot thank you enough for your loyalty and commitment to us, to our spouses and to our families.
As military members, we come from all walks of life. But, regardless of where we come from or when we arrive at Scott, we are always given a warm reception.
You invite us to your churches, your schools, your restaurants, your businesses, and your neighborhoods.
Most importantly, you help take care of our families when we deploy. For the first time since my girls were born, I was tasked to deploy to Kuwait. I left in the early summer and would be gone through January.
I knew that leaving then, I would miss a lot. I missed the summer trips to the zoo, the waterparks and my oldest starting kindergarten.
I missed birthdays, holidays, and school events. Big accomplishments happened while I was gone too: a first lost tooth and my youngest (graduating from diapers).
But for everything I was missing, there were always people like yourselves to make sure I was included. From my daughter’s school teachers, local librarians, friends and family, a lot of pictures were sent of the kids happy and enjoying their town.
And I’m so thankful for that. I live in Troy, Ill., and what a great community it is! They love the military and they show it. Family nights in the parks, parades, and dinners in town to support the military are just a few things that we have enjoyed living there. It doesn’t just take a family to raise our children, it takes a community—a community of active members like you all here tonight.
I can’t say enough how thankful I am for what has been done for myself and my family. Care packages were sent from all over, toys were delivered to my girls from the 1st Sgts. group, phone calls and facetiming my unit and commander let me know just how much I was missed and appreciated.
These might be minor things, but to me they meant a lot. Knowing how much support I had behind me let me focus on my job and the mission without being distracted and worried about my home life.
While deployed, I was in charge of 17 other personnel performing contractor escort duty, and being distracted on the job wasn’t an option.
We were extremely busy and of course it was hot, so that made things uncomfortable at times.
Doing a job I don’t normally perform had its up and downs, but it was all well worth the experience I received. If I was tasked again to deploy, I know that everything would be well taken care of here at home.
You allow us to go to these far-away places, facing dangers and hardships. However, (we go with a) knowledge that we leave our families behind with people who care, and with people who are always willing to lend a hand, often without being asked. This gives us the peace of mind we need to focus on our mission.
My dear community friends, please take a moment to look at the talented enlisted men and women sitting among you. These are the people who make it happen. These are the people who get the job done.
These sharp enlistees sitting among you have the unique skills, the grit and the determination that make this vast, complex web of military missions work so effortlessly, seamlessly, and effectively.
Not a soldier, sailor, Airman, Marine, or coast guardsman travels to their mission area without Scott Air Force Base. The equipment they need to carry out those missions would never get to where it needs to go without Scott.
And it’s more than the logistics of getting warriors, cargo and supplies from a-to-z. It’s the communicators who make sure the channels are open and secure from enemy threat. It’s the security forces specialists who provide critical defense. It’s the contract and finance technicians who help us procure and acquire much needed supplies. It’s the wrench turners who maintain the fleet. It’s the flight surgeons, flight nurses, and combat medics whose mastery of skills lead to a 98 percent survivability rate for those wounded in battle and are able to get (us to) immediate medical care.
All of you in uniform, you represent this team of movers, enablers, and doers. You are what makes America’s military strong. So I say to you, Team Scott enlisted corps: Remember tonight, remember this moment and remember how much the community cares about you.
And to the Belle-Scott committee, to our neighbors and friends: Thank you for hosting this special event in our honor and recognizing our hard work, our service and our sacrifices. The enlisted men and women of Scott Air Force Base proudly salute you.