Colonel Guillot brags on his Airmen
By Brandice J. O'Brien, Tinker Public Affairs
/ Published June 24, 2013
TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --
When Col. Greg Guillot arrived at Tinker nearly a year ago to lead the 552nd Air Control Wing he said he was excited about the assignment. Having already been stationed here several times before, he knew firsthand the spirit, talent and capabilities of its Airmen. Now, as he prepares for his next assignment and reflects on his time here, Colonel Guillot said he is only more proud of "America's Wing."
On June 13, Colonel Guillot will turn the reins over to his successor, Col. Jay Bickley, and venture to Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., to lead the 55th Wing.
"The 552nd Air Control Wing has the absolute best Airmen in the entire Air Force," Colonel Guillot said. "They're professional, disciplined and they want to do better and never hesitate to volunteer. Our deployment rates are through the roof, and yet we always have people volunteering to deploy because they feel strongly about what they do. Over the past year I think they've gotten better about taking care of each other, looking out for each other and trying to be better friends and wingmen."
It hasn't been an easy year. In May, the 552nd ACW buried Staff Sgt. Daniel Fannin of the 552nd Operations Support Squadron, who died in a plane crash while serving overseas. They also came to the aid of fellow Airmen and Oklahomans when tornadoes swept through the state last month.
"We were allowed to send 50 volunteers from the base to Moore. When the bus left here, 78 people had snuck on. They were supposed to have been there for 12 hours. They got back here 19 hours later, whooped, and you can imagine what they saw down there," the colonel said. "When they got off the bus it was raining and the first thing they said was, 'Can we do this again tomorrow?'
"I'm proud to be associated with a wing like that," Colonel Guillot said.
In addition to tragedy, the wing has faced hardships as sequestration and budget cuts became a reality. Colonel Guillot said keeping his Airmen ready, trained and prepared is a challenge, but one they can handle.
"Air Combat Command has given us priorities and told us we don't have to have as much quantity as before, but the quality of what we have needs to be high," he said. "We have less total combat capability in the wing than we did a year ago, but the mission-ready crews we have are just as good as they were a year ago."
To compensate for the decreased number of sorties, the colonel said his flyers are doing more simulator training and briefings. His maintainers are prioritizing their capabilities.
"Keeping focused and keeping engaged is our biggest challenge when part of our force has been told, 'we need you to not be ready and not be flying,'" Colonel Guillot said.
The colonel said his successor, Colonel Bickley, should enjoy his time in the 552nd ACW, as the Airmen are trustworthy, competent and will come through for him.
Colonel Guillot said even after he has fled the nest to Offutt AFB, he hopes America's Wing continues to strive to achieve the mission, better themselves and be good disciplined wingmen on and off duty, on and off base, and up in the air and down on the ground.
He, too, will be missed.
"It is a rare occasion to see one individual have such a positive impact on an organization as large as the 552nd ACW, in such a short period of time," said Col. Thomas Engle, 552nd ACW vice commander. "Without a doubt, Colonel Guillot is a role model for our future Air Force leaders."
552nd Air Control Wing Command Chief Master Sgt. Eddie Compton agreed.
"Colonel Guillot's passion for the Airman has been evident from day one," he said. "You could see the genuine concern in his decisions and the wing is better from his influence."