Airmen: truly our greatest resource ... Accepting the challenge!

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Charles Wallace
  • 4th Operations Support Squadron commander
 "You are our greatest resource." Leaders issue this phrase to acknowledge excellence, sacrifice and dedication. Our Airmen are truly the decisive element that makes our Air Force the greatest in the world! Unfortunately, in a service characterized by technology, global mobility, precision strike, space and information power, Airmen have difficulty truly appreciating the significance of this praise and the implied challenge it poses.

Every day our mission in the 4th Fighter Wing sustains as history is written through countless individual efforts of a diverse team. This team collectively achieves the right effects at the right time and place to maintain our facilities, equipment and training. They meet our exercise, inspection and deployment challenges and create a culture of trust and excellence in all we do. Together, these players carry on a rich heritage of "Fourth but First" accomplishments ranging from World War II to current operations. Without our world class Airmen, the ability to harness technology and meet demands of defending our nation with excellence would not be possible.

Our job is to protect and defend the constitution of the United States of America; failure is not an option. Excellence and success can never be assumed. Thus, the challenge to each Airman to be poised, willing to meet our nation's call with tenacity, professionalism and is daunting; and unfortunately not always achieved.

Individual actions such as: maintaining nuclear weapons accountability, non-compliance of safety, technical order data during an inspection, or violations of personal rights can significantly impact not only the individual, but also units, the base and even trust of our communities and senior leadership. Responsibilities placed upon even our most junior officers and enlisted Airman truly is profound.

So how does an Airman meet the challenge to be our greatest resource? The solution is quite simple and evident around us every day. It starts with an attitude of excellence, compliance and trust grounded in our core values and mission focus. We must feel a daily devotion to doing the right things the correct way and enforcing standards in the work place. Airmen must maintain a sense of shared pride in what we do and acknowledge the consequences of failure. Meeting the challenge involves adaptability and flexibility of readiness for the next unexpected challenge or battle fought with limited resources.

At the heart of the list is the recognition of and commitment to taking care of our people. Investing resources and time into professional, emotional, spiritual and physical development of our Airmen is a responsibility of leaders and supervisors of all levels. Just as our aircraft, equipment and tools require constant care, upgrades and investments, so do the Airmen who brilliantly employ them to meet the mission. Just as the maintenance and care of each aircraft has unique aspects, so does the sustainment and development of each Airman. It cannot be the responsibility of one individual, office or section to develop and mold our Airmen into our greatest resource, it is the shared responsibility of all.

I challenge each of us to live up to the praise that is so often earned and bestowed upon us. Every day you are writing history and making a difference in so many ways that may not be recognized. Be proud of your heritage and truly strive to be our greatest resource. Our nation depends on us!