22nd ARW off-site focuses on future, strategic direction

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  • By 22nd Public Affairs Office
  • 22nd Public Affairs

              The 22nd Air Refueling Wing leadership team charted the Wing’s future strategic direction during a two-day off-site conference at Wichita’s Chamber of Commerce, Sept. 30 - Oct. 1.

Strategic off-sites are an investment in future success for an organization and its Airmen.

Led by Col. Nate Vogel, 22nd Air Refueling Wing commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Melissa Royster, 22nd ARW Command Chief Master Sergeant, leadership from each of the Wing’s organizations were on hand, coming together, to examine the challenges and opportunities ahead in depth, and map out the vision and future for the 22nd ARW. 

 “Taking a step back from the day-to-day operations and looking at the long-term picture is extremely helpful,” said Chief Master Sgt. Nina Murphy, 22nd Mission Support Group Superintendent. “We are easily pulled from one thought to another throughout the day with both our work and home responsibilities, but if we are not deliberate in taking time out to strategically plan, it will be difficult to really see where we are going and how small steps will help us to get there.”

Lieutenant Col. Sarah Bergkamp, commander of the 22nd Operations Support Squadron, was in agreement stating, “That pause to focus on strategic direction will pay dividends throughout the Wing’s organizations.”

“The discussions helped me and my squadron senior enlisted leader further focus on the future direction of our squadron with regard to both supporting the Wing’s mission and with the care and development of our Airmen,” added Bergkamp.

Another element of the strategic conference was incorporating and executing the vision of Air Force leadership, to build off the momentum from the recent Air, Space & Cyber Conference.

“There are significant opportunities ahead as the 22nd ARW works to meet the Air Force Chief of Staff’s charge to ‘Accelerate Change or Lose,’” said Murphy. “We need to be innovative, utilizing the resources we already have and work together as cross-functional teams to collaborate and prepare us for the high-end fight. We have defined as a Wing where we need to focus our attention, now it’s time to get after it.”

Professional development was also a part of the off-site event as Col. William Ray, 56th Maintenance Group commander from Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., was the event’s guest speaker. He discussed his application of the Theory of Constraints. After studying this scientific approach to improvement, he applied the theory to aircraft generation, radically increasing sortie generation and in turn increasing overall mission capability. Professional development activities continued with a Chief’s panel, and a leadership development discussion.

“The off-site was also an opportunity where we could reflect on and discuss how to take better care of our Airmen,” said Bergkamp. “We worked on the 22 ARW Mission and Vision as well as Lines of Effort or objectives that provide a tangible way ahead for the Wing. In turn, we can bring those lessons learned to each of our organizations to better help our Airmen.”

The event also took time to look at relationships beyond McConnell, with an in-depth discussion about the Honorary Commander Program. The Honorary Commander program pairs local civic and business leaders with individual unit commanders, building relationships between the base and community – which was highlighted by having two Honorary Commander alumni offer insight into the program and its successes. 

 “It is easy to prioritize other mission-related tasks over programs such as this,” said Bergkamp. “It’s unstructured and sometimes it’s difficult to know where to get started in building that Commander-Honorary Commander relationship. Having the chance to talk about the program, talk about some of the great ideas and opportunities for involving the Honorary Commanders in the squadron and what that interaction does for both the military and local community was tremendously beneficial.”

The inclusive nature of coming together was a heavy lift and an investment in the Wing’s future, but the work, and opportunities, are just beginning, said Col. Vogel.

“Chief Royster and I are so proud of the leaders in the 22 ARW,” concluded Col. Vogel. “The entire team came together to set a vision of where the wing needs to be in the next two to three years, and what it will take to get there. Team McConnell will see an entire array of initiatives coming soon that affect everything from operations to families. We will move out with an ever-quickening tempo.”