Our people will adapt and overcome

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Travis Edwards
  • 344th Air Refueling Squadron commander
The "Ravens" of the 344th Air Refueling Squadron directly support the 22nd Air Refueling Wing's mission by delivering mission ready Airmen, skilled in KC-135 Stratotanker operations, to combatant commanders "Anytime, Anywhere!"

So how do we deliver mission ready Airmen? In the past, delivering mission ready Airmen was not a tall order, especially considering the number of flying hours allotted to McConnell AFB. Additionally, our crews were heavily tasked to support overseas contingency operations. Our squadron had the luxury of a surplus of training opportunities and we were spoiled.

The fiscal challenges of today have caused members across our Air Force to reevaluate how we train. It would be easy to say that the sequester and fiscal challenges are negatives, but on the contrary, the fiscal environment has forced us to develop innovative and efficient ways to accomplish our training ensuring we continue to supply mission ready Airmen to combatant commanders.

The focus on innovation and critical thinking resonates throughout our squadron. The Airmen in the 344th ARS are responsible for completing over 15,000 training events annually, despite a 46 percent cut to active duty flying hours. Our squadron was able to complete 99.4 percent of our semiannual training because of the adaptability of our scheduling and training shops.

Our schedulers are responsible for plugging faces into spaces for flights, simulators and ground training. The training shop personnel ensure that we are maximizing training opportunities for our personnel. The coordination between scheduling and training was critical to developing a plan to ensure we were able to meet our training requirements.

What is unique about this situation is my people were proactive and implemented the plan. The results were truly remarkable. It is amazing what happens when we empower our people to make decisions.

So despite the challenges you may face in today's environment, remember that we have motivated Airmen; they will find a way to get the mission done safely and effectively. Our people will adapt and overcome!