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Bird's Eye View: Today unlucky for some, great for junior force

Col. Bryan Gallagher (right), 95th Air Base Wing commander, Col. Mark Mueller (center), 412th Maintenance Group commander, and Marine Lt. Col. Thomas McCarthy (left), Marine Aircraft Group Detachment B commander, talk to Air Force Reserve Officers' Training Corps cadets during a senior leader seminar at the Conference Center here Tuesday. The commanders covered topics such as force reductions, joint service operations, the future of warfare and career devlopment advice. (Photo by Senior Airman Jason Hernandez)

Col. Bryan Gallagher (right), 95th Air Base Wing commander, Col. Mark Mueller (center), 412th Maintenance Group commander, and Marine Lt. Col. Thomas McCarthy (left), Marine Aircraft Group Detachment B commander, talk to Air Force Reserve Officers' Training Corps cadets during a senior leader seminar at the Conference Center here Tuesday. The commanders covered topics such as force reductions, joint service operations, the future of warfare and career devlopment advice. (Photo by Senior Airman Jason Hernandez)

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- If black cats and broken mirrors frighten you, then you already know that today is Friday the 13th. Associated with bad luck and a string of movies starring a machete-wielding guy in a hockey mask, Friday the 13th is generally a pretty bad day for the superstitious. 

However, today is a great day for our junior force. It's Junior Force Appreciation Day, which kicked off last night with a home cooked meal for our "dorm dwellers." 

Today, though, we are cutting the ribbon on the Higher Grounds Internet Cafe in the dormitories. 

Staffed entirely on a volunteer basis, the cafe was developed from an old recreation room and an adjoining dorm room. It's since been remodeled to include a coffee bar, stools, furniture and a game room with a state-of-the-art gaming system. Also, since it's an internet cafe, we installed wireless internet base stations for use by its patrons. 

Higher Grounds is quite an undertaking, but the love and care put into this project shows in what it looks like today. It's the result of a great deal of hard work from several people on the base along with the Edwards Civilian-Military organization, a group of extremely generous civic leaders with very close ties to Edwards. 

I encourage you to drop by the new cafe and experience what it has to offer the Edwards community.

Phase I exercise Thursday 

It's been four months since the Air Force Materiel Command Inspector General came here for our Operational Readiness Inspection. Since then, we've been working hard to refine the process for Phase I exercises so that we "deploy" our Airmen on time when we're called upon to do so. 

We've made incredible progress in refining the process and have integrated and refined our process over the past few months. The exercise Thursday is our dress rehearsal before the inspectors return at the end of the month. The stage is set for our success. 

So, what can you do to be ready? 

First, make sure all of your training, immunizations, medical appointments and records are up to date. If you are lacking a training or have any questions about what is needed, talk to your Unit Deployment Manager, First Sergeant or IDO personnel and take care of it. Don't wait until you are tasked before worrying about whether you are ready to deploy. Just do it. This includes keeping your emergency contact information updated on the Virtual Military Personnel Flight online and having a current Leave and Earnings Statement in your folder. 

Second, every Airman should always have their mobility bags ready to go if called upon to deploy. There have been many occasions -- both training and real-world -- when a tasking comes down that requires the Airman to be on a plane in a few days. 

In regards to the Phase I exercise and the relook at the end of the month, I'm confident that each of you will perform incredibly well and we will pass this re-take with flying colors. 

Keep up the fire!