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Message to 136 AW Citizen Airmen

Col. Keith Williams, 136th Airlift Wing Vice Commander, takes a quick break on a bench outside the headquarters building.

Air Force Col. Keith Williams, 136th Airlift Wing Vice Commander, takes a quick break outside the headquarters building Aug. 25, 2019 at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Texas. Williams has taken time out of his day to ensure the wing's Citizen Airmen know they are valued. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Lynn M. Means)

NAVAL AIR STATION JOINT RESERVE BASE FORT WORTH, Texas --

Fellow 136th Airlift Wing Members,

We are now approaching eight weeks of COVID-19 response in our nation and in our communities. Some of the news is bleak and some of the news is positive and changes from day to day. Like you, CMSgt Mitchell and I have never seen anything like this before. Just know the TXANG is making a difference in the response.

Chief Mitchell and I wanted to thank all of you for making the April Virtual Drill an overall success. Yes, there were some issues that came up, but the overwhelming response was very positive. It could not have happened without a lot of teamwork and the efforts of Lt. Col. Christine Simpson from MSG. We know we have a great foundation to take us into another virtual drill for May.

The Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Tracy Norris, addressed Texas Military Department (TMD) leadership this past Wednesday to provide direction of the forces in response to the pandemic. 

She restated her five priorities:

1. Prepare for mobilizations

2. COVID-19 Response

3. Army Safety Stand-down of tactical vehicles

4. Preparations for Hurricane Season

5. Continuing the Border Operations

Currently, there are 3,078 Army and Air Guardsmen on orders for the COVID-19 response and during her meeting she stated more guardsmen may be necessary to continue the response effort. Yes, there is a lot going on in the TMD. The COVID-19 response and preparing our members for deployment have taken most of our attention.

We have 159 of our members on orders responding to the COVID pandemic. They are working in the Tarrant Area Food Bank, conducting Mobile Testing in west Texas, and serving in various roles at State Headquarters. They are all doing great work and getting much deserved recognition. You may have seen the Food Bank guys on the local news! General Joseph Lengyel, Chief of the National Guard Bureau, came to visit the area and got a tour of the food bank operations our members are involved in. Also in the news, our Mobile Testing Teams were highlighted on a local news station out west. We are proud of them as they continue to do thankless work in support of their fellow Texans.  

There are presently zero known positive cases in the Wing. The three prior confirmed positive cases we did have among our wing members, with one of those cases being a member’s spouse, have recovered and are doing well. Great news for our Wing family!

The full-time force continues to keep a minimal physical presence at the base. Our social distancing and telework efforts have helped keep the virus from spreading to our members. As you have seen on the news, and also in your communities, there has been a reopening of the economy. TAG has announced that the full-time force will return to the workplace the week of 18 May, so Tuesday, 19 May, will be our first day back from teleworking. We are planning a measured approach to returning everyone to the workplace with the safety of everyone at the forefront of our planning. Expect more details in the coming days.

Finally, I want to say Happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms in our unit. You are appreciated! I hope you can find a way to enjoy this Sunday. It’s your day!

The members of the 136th Airlift Wing are amazing! What you do really does make a difference in our world. Please keep yourself healthy and safe and remember to watch out for your Wingman too.

Col Keith Williams                                                                   CMSgt LaTasha Mitchell
Wing Commander                                                                   Wing Command Chief