53rd Wing readies for its "Big Week"

  • Published
  • By Samuel King Jr.
  • Team Eglin Public Affairs
Groups, squadrons and individuals around the country are preparing for the 53d Wing's all encompassing annual event known as "Big Week." 

The week is amply named because of all the events happening the first full week in February - the wing hosts a commanders conference, the Senior Enlisted Leadership Conference, and finally the 53d Wing Annual Awards Banquet. A two-day Air Force Smart Operations executive-level training has also been incorporated into the week this year.

"We throw everything into this one week to save money, time and resources," said Col. Steve DePalmer, 53d Wing commander. "The annual awards banquet is the one event of the year where we gather our best from 19 locations and come together to celebrate and provide proper recognition. It also provides an opportunity for unit leaders to network with other Wing members who are geographically separated. "

Commanders Conference
Colonel DePalmer hosts all the group and squadron commanders Feb. 2 through 6. Each 53rd unit provides a brief update on hot issues from their organization. These will range from facility and people concerns to mission and host unit relations.

"These updates will inform each of our 41 commanders as to the issues facing our organization and mission," said Col. Mick Guthals, 53rd Wing vice commander. 

Senior Enlisted Leadership Conference 
Chief Master Sgt. Terry West, 53rd Wing command chief, will gather with many of the wing's current and future senior enlisted leaders to build a strong leadership team. 

"First and foremost the main purpose of the Senior Enlisted Leadership Conference is to bring together our 53rd Wing Senior Enlisted Leadership from our 19 uniquely geographically separated units spanning coast to coast to promote and support our wing's mission," said Senior Master Sgt. Roger Bloor, a three-time SELC attendee. "It provides an opportunity once each year to convene in one place to discuss and advance our wing's goals and focus our attention to the needs of the wing and its enlisted corps." 

Some of this year's topics and presentations include the new wing mission statement, AFSO-21, mortgages and foreclosures and the new reserve initiative. 

The senior enlisted will take a break from their conference Feb. 3 to attend an Air Combat Command enlisted call, where Chief Master Sgt. Stephen Sullens, ACC command chief, will speak to all ACC enlisted on Eglin. 

The AFSO-21 course will be incorporated into both the commander's conference and the SELC. This new aspect will focus the wing's leadership to the point where they can attack wing processes with lean principles to improve efficiency and products to the warfighter, according to Colonel Guthals.

53rd Wing Annual Awards Banquet
The 53rd Wing Annual Awards Banquet is Feb. 5 at the Emerald Coast Conference Center in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. The banquet starts with cocktails at 5:30 p.m. and the keynote speaker is Chief Sullens. 

Awards will be handed out to group and staff-level winners, then to the wing-level winners. Stay tuned to the 53rd Wing and Eglin websites to find out the winners. 

For more information about Big Week and the Annual Awards Banquet, call 882-0053.