Happy new year to you all! I hope as you celebrate the start of 2018, it is in good spirits with family and friends. I also hope that you take a moment to remember those who cannot join us in celebration because they are deployed around the world in service to our nation. Though the sentiments are frequent here on a military installation, they should never lose their significance. Service is a way of life that should never be taken for granted, and I am proud to be a part of the Navy team here at NAS Lemoore.
During this time of transition from one year to the next, it is good to reflect on some of the significant events from 2017, while at the same time, looking ahead to what next year may bring. A quick look back at 2017 reveals that last year was a year of “firsts” as well as a year of “lasts.” Most notably, we witnessed the arrival of a new type of aircraft that has set a series of events in motion that will forever change the way we do business here on the installation. We have seen numerous deployments and homecomings. There have been developments, changes and difficult challenges that have put us all to the test. As a whole, we have grown and learned and are a better and stronger installation than we were before. We have said goodbye to many and welcomed even more to the installation. In short, 2017 has been a year of growth for NAS Lemoore. Much has been accomplished, but there is still much to do.
Most notably, last year NAS Lemoore witnessed the arrival of the first F-35C Lightning II aircraft and the re-activation of the VFA-125 Rough Riders. Their arrival and permanent stationing here at NAS Lemoore marks the beginning of a new era of naval aviation. There are always challenges with “new” things, however, I look forward to all of us growing with and supporting this platform as it puts down roots here at NAS Lemoore. We are a part of something truly special. This is the first time that a fifth-generation aircraft has been stationed at a west-coast based squadron.
The capabilities of this aircraft require additional support, not only from the flight line, but also from the installation and the teams of folks who make everything run smoothly. It takes all of us. As a team, we made that happen in 2017. However, this teamwork extends beyond the F-35C. It takes all of us to make NAS Lemoore a success. It is my goal that we, as an installation, will continue to support the F-35C program as well as our mission of supporting the warfighter, with renewed enthusiasm and tenacity.
Looking ahead to 2018, we will continue to help bring the F-35C program online with the transition of the first squadron expected to begin early in 2018. Additionally, our mission here at NAS Lemoore is to “provide the infrastructure, products and services that enable Commander, Strike Fighter Wing Pacific squadrons to conduct operations in support of National Tasking; enable readiness through quality of life services; foster and strengthen collaborative community relationships; and achieve installation efficiencies through innovation.” The NAS Lemoore team is at the heart of Naval Aviation and the success of that mission will only be possible with your continued dedication and teamwork. While we’ve successfully demonstrated that we can accomplish this, despite the challenges, both individually and at an installation level, we need to continue to work together to create a thriving and vibrant environment that fosters success.
There is a lot that expected from NAS Lemoore. We have accomplished some amazing tasks in 2017 and we are still growing and learning. While it is easy to complain and take to social media to bash some of the flaws and setbacks, it is a more difficult and holistic task to fix the issue and make a positive difference. NAS Lemoore is only as good as each of us would have it be. In the end, I challenge all of us to remember why we are here. We are here for the warfighters. We are here because someone we care about will eventually be going into harm’s way. Each of us, in some way, contributes to the successful deployment of our squadrons. Whether that means training, maintenance medical readiness, daily flight operations, facility maintenance, the day-to-day security of the base or the love and support provided by a family member, everybody plays a vital role in making NAS Lemoore successful. Thank you all for making 2017 a truly remarkable year.
The success of our deployed forces begins right here at home, with each of us. I encourage all of us in our decision making to evaluate not only what is best for our own individual commands, but also the potential impact on the mission as a whole. The past year has been full of change and growth. I would like to thank you all for your significant support and dedication during these the last year. The year ahead will bring its own challenges, but I’m sure that by working together and focusing on supporting the warfighter first, we can grow and accomplish our goals in 2018. There are many who are depending on us. These will certainly continue to be my priorities and I am convinced I can count on you to do the same.
Wishing each of you continued success throughout the New Year.
All my best,
Captain David James,
Commanding Officer, NAS Lemoore