Commander’s Corner Published Aug. 11, 2006 By Col. Monty Brock 31st Fighter Wing vice commander Aviano Air Base, Italy -- What a welcome to the World's Finest! I can't begin to tell you how much Tina, the girls, the dogs and I appreciate everything the folks in this wing have done to get us settled. Ever since I found out I was coming here, wing and group leaders have gone out of their way to make the transition smooth. Tina and I would both like to thank General Yates and Barb for making us feel like a part of the team so quickly. Special thanks go out to the 31st Mission Support Group for settling us into a house that I'll have a hard time getting the family to leave. And of course I'd be remiss if I didn't thank my predecessor, Col. Steve Schrader, for helping me grab on to the ski rope and prepare for the wild ride ahead. I'd like to thank him, Diane, and the kids for being great Americans and for their 26 years of faithful service. God bless you in your life after the Air Force. Since I moved into the chair last week, I've had the chance to meet a good number of you. What impressed me the most is not the new buildings, courtesy of Aviano 2000, but rather the attitude, knowledge and professionalism each of you bring to the fight. It didn't matter if I was in the control tower, talking with some fighter pilots, learning about challenges in the fuel barn, watching my bomb loader heroes, talking about barbecue with the gang in CE, checking out the new hot pits, getting my teeth cleaned in the dental chair, marveling over the Airman Leadership School facilities, or talking to a security forces Airman in a dark bunker, every one of you humbled me with your dedication and "service before self" attitude. I also heard some great briefings from some really young Airmen. Wow, it's going to be a ball serving with and for you over the next few years. I guess it's only fair for each of you to know what kind of guy you've inherited as your new vice. First, Tina and I are Texans and big Dallas Cowboy fans. Sorry, Boss (he's a Redskins man). I spent some time as a drummer traveling with the USO while I was in college and still play almost daily. I used to anchor the evening news for a CBS affiliate in Abilene, Texas and I'm a journalism major. That means I'm pretty tough on OPR's and EPR's because I fancy myself a pretty good writer (although you may disagree with me after reading this article). I went through Officer Training School and was commissioned in 1985. I met Tina while I was attending pilot training in Wichita Falls (she wants me to add that I met her at church, not in Duffy's bar). I have flown every block of F-16s ever made (minus the Block 5) at MacDill, Shaw, Kunsan, Moody, Nellis and Mt. Home AFB. I also had the chance to spend some time as a deputy mission support group commander. I learned a bunch about things I never knew. In fact, my first meeting was about sewage management. Talk about a perfect subject for a fighter pilot! I spent last year on a remote to Pakistan attending their National Defense College. It was a great education on the dynamics of that part of the world. If you haven't read any books about that region you are behind the power curve. Take the time to stop by the library and read anything written by Bernard Lewis or ask our great librarians for another recommendation. Once again I'd like to thank you for the welcome and can't wait to get to know you better as we face the challenges the next several months will bring. I know we will all meet them head on and prove why we are the World's Finest.