Let’s make 2007 even better than 2006

  • Published
  • By Col. Ray LaMarche
  • 22nd Operations Group commander
Congratulations to all of Team McConnell for making 2006 a tremendously successful year!

This wing's message was loud and clear; we are the very best at what we do.

We managed to accomplish the unthinkable and showed the Air Mobility Command inspectors during our recent Unit Compliance inspection what it means to be a "Keeper of the Plains" member and a dominant force in one of the Air Force's largest KC-135 Air Refueling Wings.

There is now an obvious tendency to let the proverbial "hair down" and enjoy the fruits of our labor. However, that puts us in a position in which we can ill afford, in light of budgets, personnel reductions, continued deployments, etc.

The 22nd Air Refueling Wing Commander, Col. Donald J. Halpin recently stated in the AMC Unit Compliance Inspection outbrief, "2006 was a year of inspection; 2007 will be a year of introspection."

The mission of the 22nd ARW is immensely important, as the capability we deliver is a catalyst in the successes of the combatant commanders we support. To that end, we must look inward into our daily operations, making an assessment of the No. 1 critical enabling component in mission execution ... our people. We must take time to concentrate on our physical, mental and emotional well-being to ensure we are capable of responding when called upon.

It is equally important to take care of our families, as they are the foundation that keeps things steady and on course when many of us deploy to various locations around the world.

Our Air Force is in a dramatic period of change ... like no other in recent decades. Though we are all tightening our belts as our service proceeds through this change, now is the time to implement the "introspection" opportunity I mentioned earlier. How many times have you heard "That's the way we've always done it" and been frustrated because you felt your new ideas were stifled?

The evolution of our service into a 21st century force requires re-tooling if we are to continue as an unbeatable and unmatched force.

Many of us have great ideas on how to change our current processes, procedures and policies to be more efficient and effective. Put these thoughts into motion. Think of this as a spring-cleaning ... time to clear out the clutter and the dust.

Being creatures of habit, change is difficult and forces us to depart from our comfort zones. We must be very wary to not allow our current climate of change to induce an insidious notion that all is lost, that we cannot "do more with less," or worse, "do more with nothing," and complain about the effects of budget cuts and manpower losses with no associated decrease in mission, tasks, or additional duties.

This attitude is a tremendous distraction and will invariably affect our mission. We all need to put our thinking caps on and figure out how we can accomplish the mission to overcome these obstacles.

We must aggressively seek opportunities to work smarter, not harder, developing methodologies to gain efficiencies wherever we can.

It is time to embrace the changes in our Air Force as a rebirth and an opportunity for growth.

In short, we need to foster the "can-do" attitude. That is what makes our military the greatest fighting force the world has ever seen and why we are a part of the greatest nation on earth.

Be positive and stay focused!