Bring on the Inspectors!

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Kenneth Brownell
  • 22nd Operations Support Squadron commander
Over the past four months, we have trained extremely hard to ready ourselves for the upcoming ORI. The pace has been very demanding; individuals are tired, and our patience is running thin. 

This extensive training prior to the inspection can be compared to football training camps leading up to the season's first game. 

Players are often interviewed and quoted as saying they cannot wait for training camp to be over. However, after going through the pain, sweat, and long hours together there is a bond that develops among everyone on the team. Simply, teamwork has to take place for the unit to overcome the adversity that is staring them squarely in the face.
Everyone, growing up in Nebraska knows college football is king. Yes, I have heard the jokes about what the N on the helmet stands for. One unifying force, for the state of Nebraska is the legendary coach and congressman, Tom Osborne. 

Coach Osborne never talked with his athletes about winning. Instead, he talked with them about the importance of focusing on the process of success: proper technique, effort, conditioning, and, most importantly, teamwork. He felt taking care of the process would eventually lead to the desired outcome. We too have been working very hard on our processes to prepare for the ORI. We are ready to show the inspectors the power of team of Team McConnell. 

The idea of teamwork and overcoming adversity is present everyday in the stories of our Airmen and what they accomplish away from home in the Middle East. For example, Master Sgt. Mark Hurst is a tactical air control party operator who faced medical discharge from the Air Force after losing his left eye during combat operations in Afghanistan in 2004.

His injury came during his fifth combat tour in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was serving as a joint terminal attack controller in Afghanistan, controlling airpower in support of ground forces. On the day he was injured, a rocket-propelled grenade hit his vehicle, leaving him with severe shrapnel wounds to the left side of his face, body and eye.

Once recovered and fitted with a prosthetic eye, Sergeant Hurst accepted nothing less than being able to contribute to the Air Force and his country. He went to work as the Operations training manager and parachutist program manager at Pope Air Force Base, N.C., During this time, he requested a waiver and worked to remain qualified to serve in the combat zone. He deployed to Iraq to serve his sixth combat tour from March to July in 2006.

Finally, there is a telling Scripture in the Bible (Proverbs 24:10) that reveals, "If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small." In this context, fainting doesn't mean to literally lose consciousness; rather it means to withdraw, let go or to show yourself slack. When adversity hits, some people have a tendency to look for a way of escape. There is no way to escape inspectors. They are coming, but I know Team McConnell is ready. 

Commanders, supervisors, plans and programs personnel and exercise evaluation team members have been diligent coaches, but the constant corrections and changes have impacted everyone's patience. It is time for us all to come together as one team. This has been a challenging process for everyone, but we are ready to stand together and tackle this inspection head on. 

I think the last part of the Airman's Creed states this best. 

I am an American Airman: wingman, leader, warrior. I will never leave an Airman behind. I will never falter, and I will not fail.