2009 Annual Awards Banquet ... the hits just kept on coming

ARNOLD AIR FORCE BASE, Tenn. -- Now THAT was a banquet!!

Huge turnout, home runs in every inning, and a finale that we will all remember.

I couldn't have been prouder of both the team that put the whole thing together, to the nominees and winners I met on the stage. This was a night to celebrate AEDC's finest, and the teams serving as the wind beneath their wings.

These events are monstrous undertakings, and worth every minute. The crew that pulled it all together learned valuable lessons in teamwork, cross-functional coordination, and how to adapt, improvise and overcome in execution.

The supervisors and leaders learned the value of mentorship, rewarding superior performance and how a little encouragement can go a very long way.

The nominees and winners received some firsthand feedback, and assurance that their efforts did not go unnoticed.

And through every moment, AEDC's greatest asset shined through...our commitment to "the team."

Although the event is often seen as the conclusion of an "individual" competition, if you dig a little deeper, you'll find it's all about the team. Look at the lineup. Our "MC" team, not just a single MC. The invocation offered by our very own Mr. John Sutton. The phenomenal rendition of our National Anthem, presented by the daughter of an Arnold Community Council member. And the fact that we include our military, DoD civilian, NAF civilian, and ATA winners in a single, combined event is no accident.

It's just one more facet of our relentless efforts to honor the team approach that has made AEDC the jewel that it is.

And how about Mr. Dan Clark? As I mentioned in my intro, THIS guy can inspire almost anybody. Everything from the story of his personal tragedy to his observation that what we have here is a model of "higher expectations" spoke of teamwork.

I had the pleasure of taking him around our base that afternoon, and at every turn, "the team" caught his attention.

I have seen this on countless tours, but Mr. Clark is a bit more passionate than most, so I got an extra dose this time.

He just could not believe the depth and breadth of the work we do here, and was proud to be a part of it on this night.

And let's not forget the central theme of his message...our greatest achievements start with an inspiration, and are sustained by the choices we make along the way to raise our expectations. The vignette describing the "locker room leap" could not have come at a better time.

I know we are facing some huge obstacles in the near term. Many are cause for concern, but most are just as we described them a few weeks back ... "A Call to Arms."

This event proved we have the team, and the stars, to smash through, leap over, and get around those obstacles. I saw the fire in the heart of every recipient as I shook their hands, and I saw the pride in the teammates and supervisors who got them to the stage.

Those are energy sources no "funding cut" can take away. We're "re-charged" now. Full steam ahead!