Con Ganas!

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Gerardo Tapia
  • 49th Fighter Wing Command Chief
As a matter of introduction, I'm Chief Master Sgt. Gerardo Tapia, your new command chief at the 49th Fighter Wing. I was born and raised in El Paso, Texas, and am a 24-year Air Force veteran.

In the coming months I hope to meet as many of you as possible, and by "meet", I don't mean in passing. I want to know you, your family, hear about your achievements and your challenges as well.

If you have ever traveled into El Paso, I hope you noticed the giant letter "A" on the east side of the Franklin Mountains. The letter "A" was put there many years ago in honor of Stephen F. Austin High School, the second oldest high school in El Paso. I graduated from that school in 1985 and grew up in the neighborhood at the base of the mountain. I was told recently that a time honored tradition still stands today, the lighting of the "A". On homecoming night and graduation evening, the younger students of the school still set fire to it. You can literally see it for miles and miles.

We had a saying back in that old neighborhood that I know is still relevant today, "Dale Con Ganas!" The loose English translation of this saying is that when you are going to do something, you do it with emotion, passion, sense of purpose and with all your might. It means you understand that your family name is on the plain, that you realize that your work is a direct reflection of your character, work ethic and skills and that you stand by it. This attitude is the difference between washing a car and "detailing" a car, vacuuming under the seats, polishing the tires, cleaning the dash, the trunk and the bumper. It also means that you don't quit, that you "run out a grounder."

This is the same approach I will take in the position of your command chief. It is my commitment to you here today. The mission, our Airmen, your families and our community matter to me.

In the coming years we will face many challenges head on. Our operations tempo is not likely to slow down. The sacrifices we -- along with our families -- make will continue. In those difficult times, we need to remind ourselves and each other that none of us stand alone. When we all approach our mission set and our day-to-day duties, regardless of what they are, with a "con ganas" attitude, the load becomes bearable.

I also look forward to establishing a lasting partnership with our friends here in the Alamogordo community and with our German counterparts. I consider it a privilege and an honor to be your ear and your voice and I look forward to meeting you as quickly as I can.

- Airman Tapia