Edwards Air Force Base --
At its core, I see the Thanksgiving Holiday as a time to cherish close friends and family, but also to reflect in a grateful manner on the blessings we have received this past year. It remains my fondest hope that you will have a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday weekend, socially connecting in a manner that safeguards your family; keeping in mind that sacrifices this year in the height of a once-in-a-century pandemic will pay dividends for many Thanksgivings into the future. I know the major events that shaped this year in unpredicted and unprecedented ways are not events or forces we want to repeat going forward, but if you look closely you’ll still see, as I do, many many things to be thankful for.
I am thankful for you! Each and every member of Team T-Cot-A-TU is a blessing to each of us, our Teams, our units, this community, our Services, our larger Aerospace Valley, and the Nation. What you – individually and collectively – accomplished so far this year is nothing short of Awesome! Take pride in the way learned about this threat and the way you fought through the pandemic threat to keep us strong in the fight tonight, the fight in cyber, and the modernization fight for our Nation and her Allies.
I am thankful for my family! Many of us will make the right call this Thanksgiving and limit our face-to-face In Real Life (IRL) interactions to those that we reside with on a daily basis. I am not physically celebrating Thanksgiving with other than my amazing spouse and our wonderful kiddos. I am so very grateful that all the members of my family, including my extended Edwards, Plant 42, and Air Force families are so very understanding of these personal decisions. I’m also very proud that these extended family members are protecting me by limiting their interactions, too. We all understand that the sacrifice we make this Holiday Season will mean less risk of major illness and more opportunities to spend joyous times together after the Nation is through the pandemic.
I am thankful for our local community! We are so privileged to live and work in the Aerospace Valley. The culture on innovation and excellence here is the envy of every other community and our peer competitor Nations. We often forget how incredible it is to be in the place where we break barriers – routinely. And not just physical or aerospace barriers either. We break negative cultural barriers, too. The amazing Americans that choose to call the Aerospace Valley home are among the most generous and thoughtful I have ever known.
I am thankful for our medical professionals! From my seat the last 9 months, I have seen almost every other Installation in AFMC and most of the counties in California struggle to meet the capacity required to meet the hospitalization and ICU demands of the pandemic. Our entire Aerospace Valley Medical System has been impressively resilient and is weathering the current Tsunami of COVID+ cases well. This is large part due to how well we have individually respected the threat, but it is still so very admirable. I am also thankful for the medical professionals that are in the Public Health line of work, too. We are so, so fortunate to have the Edwards Public Health Team! We are also blessed with the local Public Health (PH) officials, State of CA PH experts, and the tireless efforts of the FDA and CDC. And I don’t know where to begin thanking the miracle workers that are on the cusp of delivering Safe & Effective COVID-19 Vaccines at warp speed.
I am thankful for our Nation! We are so fortunate to be citizens of the Nation that, despite her flaws, is still the shining example of hope and freedom that has ever existed on the plant. One of the most-amazing and inspiring attributes built into the foundational document of our Nation – The Constitution – is the ability for us to correct or adjust the Constitution, and the laws that flow from it, when we learn of ways to improve. I am also so very thankful there are many competitive advantages enshrined into our Constitution and its Amendments that keep us at the vanguard in the world. Among those are freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, the freedom of the press, the right to vote, and the rule of law. Each time I reflect on it, I am so grateful to be an American. This year is certainly no different.
Enjoy your Holiday. And be (extra) safe.
MATTHEW W. HIGER
Brigadier General, USAF
Commander, 412th Test Wing (AFMC)