Effectively communicating with our Airmen

  • Published
  • By Col. James Crowhurst
  • 22nd Air Refueling Wing commander
Every day and in every corner of the globe, McConnell Airmen realize our vision of "Superior Warfighter Support."

Our highly skilled and motivated aircrews, maintainers, medical personnel and logisticians are highly sought after by the Combatant Commands, fighting the wars downrange.

This high personnel tempo puts a premium on the time we have at home and "in garrison." We all have a role to play in pursuing our "READY MOBILITY, READY AIRMEN and READY BASE" priorities.

As your wing commander, my roles center on organizing, caring and equipping the world's largest supertanker wing - this means supporting the maintenance and operations groups who generate and fly KC-135s, supporting the medical group in their mission to keep our team fit to fight and supporting the mission support group in ensuring the upkeep of our on-base facilities.

There is one key tool that empowers leaders to effectively bring the mission to life, to accomplish the mission every day, despite the fog and friction ever-present in the conduct of military operations. This tool is -- effective communication.

"Communication works for those who work at it."

These words said by John Powell, British composer, remind us of our duty to practice effective communication.

The concept of effective communication incorporates several key elements and occurs on several different levels. These include: communication amongst all levels in the chain of command, using the appropriate medium (E-mail, Tanker Times, verbal, all-calls, face-to-face, etc.) to obtain or relay relevant information, and pursuing opportunities to improve the communication loop that ensures warfighters operate on the same page.

I implore supervisors at all levels to use all of the tools at their disposal to strategically communicate with our Airmen. Studies have shown that face-to-face contact, not texting or E-mail, is still the best way to get the message heard and internalized.
There are several great sources of information available to bolster communication with our Airmen and to keep all of us in the loop regarding our wing battle rhythm cadence. The aptly dubbed "ubercalendar" on the 22nd ARW McConnell page is a one-stop-shop for all events affecting Team McConnell members. Our force support squadron maintains a wonderful public website at www.mcconnellservices.com.

As I mentioned earlier, face-to-face contact is a no-fail method of effectively communicating key messages and priorities to our Airmen -- up and down the chain and laterally across functional areas.

On April 20, we will be holding a Junior Enlisted Summit to educate our young Airmen on these tools and to obtain candid feedback on how best to open up the lines of communication.

Only by strategically communicating can leaders at all levels effectively fulfill our "READY MOBILITY, READY AIRMEN and READY BASE" priorities. Effective communication is truly the language of leadership.

Thank you for what you do each and every day in support of our vital mission!