The Little Air Base that Could

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Samuel Hagadorn
  • 65th ABW command chief
I'm thrilled every time we are notified that Lajes has earned yet another "Best in USAFE" title for the year 2010. Yes -- 'little' Lajes!

Most recently, our chapel was named the Best Small Chapel in USAFE. We add that title to others, including USAFE's Best Small Clinic, USAFE's Best Small Post Office, USAFE's Best Marketing Program and there are likely still more to come.

Our elementary/high school is consistently rated the Best in the Mediterranean, and our commissary has earned almost every accolade imaginable. I could go on.

But that's not all -- individual award winners are so numerous, members' names must be listed in a font so small, the slide looks like an 'eye chart' when flashed on the screen at Right Start. The award winners are both Portuguese and American, a testament to our unique partnership in cooperation that consistently produces winning results.

How does a small base, so remotely situated, capture so many accolades? I believe it's our attitude of excellence; an attitude that no challenge is too great, backed by a willingness to do what it takes to get the job done.

Our community is truly a special place in which to work, live and grow. The 65th Air Base Wing mission with partners like the 729th AMS, AFN, DoDDS, DeCA, and the Exchange are fully vested stakeholders in the Lajes vision that make us the Air Force's preeminent enroute expeditionary focused combat support organization. Everywhere you look, the 'goodness' of Lajes can be found.

Lajes reminds me of the children's story, The Little Engine that Could, written by Watty Piper, in which a comparatively tiny locomotive engine completes the seemingly insurmountable task of pulling a long line of boxcars over a steep mountain pass. It was a task that seemed more suited to engines of much larger size; all of which refused to take on the challenge. It is a story of optimism and hard work.

Regardless of the challenge, Lajes team members are ready and willing to step up. When Team Lajes is put to the task, the answer is never, "That's too tough," but always, "I think I can!"