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From the Top: School Starts Wednesday; Let's Be Safe Out There

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- As many of you are well aware school starts next week and I want all of you to be conscious of that, especially as you drive through any of our three housing areas and school zones before and after school hours.

The start of a new school year is always an anxious time of year ... for parents and their children. That eagerness and excitement may not translate to looking both ways before crossing the street, and not talking to strangers for our children. Please have that conversation with them as they begin a safe and fun-filled school year! Drivers, please be slow down and watch for school age children.

Parents ... a pretty simple fact, the key to a good education starts in the home, and is enhanced in the classroom. I have nothing but respect for the teaching profession, (Marsha, was a teacher here in Brevard County on a previous assignment here) but they can't do it alone. They need our help more than anything else. If you are excited, your child will be excited and we ALL learn in the long run. So please, Marsha and I ask you to not only get involved with your child as the school year begins, but to STAY involved throughout this school year and every year.

For our wing's newest members with school-age children, I ask that you get to know our professionals at the Airman & Family Readiness Center. Mr. Reggie Logan, our School Liaison Officer (SLO), is here to support you. Reggie is responsible for informing and connecting military families to the resources and information needed to maximize the educational opportunities to ensure academic success for military children in the Brevard County School District.

This week was quite busy as we hosted two major events. On Tuesday the wing hosted a forum for retired General/Flag Officers living in the local area. Sixteen retired officers were given briefings and updates on activities ranging from mission, TRICARE, and new quality of life initiatives. You may have seen them enjoy lunch at the Riverside Dining Facility before many headed off to tour the Cape. I'd like to thank our project lead, Maj. Denise Lennon, from the Mighty Medics as well as our great protocol staff, Ms. Nancy Trainer and Ms Billie Jean Ludwick, for executing a perfect forum.

Yesterday, Patrick AFB had the honor of hosting the Florida Governor's Base Commander's Meeting. The Governor, Lt. Governor, TAG of Florida as well commanders from all bases across Florida were in attendance. The intent of this quarterly meeting is to bring together state agencies and installations commanders to enhance the support to military family members, and address quality of life issues for service members throughout Florida. Mrs. Holly Petraeus, wife of CIA Director David Petraeus, was also in attendance representing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. I would like to thank all who made the meeting successful, in particular Lt. Col. Sam Little from the 45 LCSS.

Finally, I'd like to welcome Colonel Doug Schiess, his wife Debbie and daughters Kaitlyn and Kendra to the Space Coast. Doug assumed command of the 45th Operations Group
from Colonel Denette Sleeth on Monday. We wish Colonel Sleeth well as she makes her way to Ramstein AB, Germany, to be the Director of Space Forces in USAFE and give a warm Team Patrick welcome to the Schiess clan as the newest members of our great team.

As always, you make me extremely proud to be a Shark. Be safe! Keep pushing!