Friday, June 13, 2008

VIEW FROM THE TOP >> Be a good your job

By Brig. Gen. Rowayne A. Schatz, Jr.
314th Airlift Wing commander

As many of you may have heard, a few changes are underway in the upper echelon of Air Force leadership. Secretary of the Air Force Michael W. Wynne and Air Force Chief of Staff General T. Michael Moseley have been asked to resign due to a series of events that have highlighted a loss of focus on certain mission areas within our Air Force at various levels. Like any good leader, Secretary Wynne and General Moseley have taken full responsibility for the events that led to their resignation, but some of us may still be wondering how things got to this point.

The answer, you ask? An Airman is only as good as his Wingman, and the “Wingman concept” we have adopted heavily relies on our adherence to our Air Force’s carefully selected three core values. Because we all wear the same uniform and fight under the same banner, when one of our core values is compromised, it reflects on each of us and our American flag…our heritage, our honor. We must take care of each other; sometimes that means keeping each other in check when we see potential adverse consequences of a Wingman’s actions.

When Airmen don't do their mission properly, or follow checklists and job guides, people can get killed and missions fail. Responsibility for failure rises to the top of any organization. Airmen failed to follow proper procedures at Minot AB and allowed nuclear weapons to be flown across the United States. Airman failed to properly mark Minutemen missile warhead fuses and those fuses were shipped to Taiwan. The failure of some Airmen to properly do their duty and act in compliance with Air Force regulations and policy caused our Secretary and Chief of Staff to be relieved.

Every Airman at every level is vital to our mission. Each one of us – along with the decisions we make both on and off duty daily, the checklists we follow, the core values we adhere to - holds far-reaching effects on the entire Air Force family. Integrity, service before self and excellence in all we do need, to be remembered at all levels; they are key players in mission success…that’s why they were selected as our core values in the first place. We all need to look inside ourselves and re-commit to being good Airmen and good Wingmen...with all the responsibility that entails.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has nominated General Norton A. Schwartz, U.S. Transportation Command commander, to succeed General Moseley as Air Force chief of staff. I had the honor of serving under General Schwartz recently just prior to my arrival at Little Rock. When I heard the news he had been nominated, I was very excited for our Air Force. General Schwartz is an outstanding leader deeply dedicated to the service of our country. We will be in very good hands under his leadership.
Despite recent turmoil, we remain the best Air Force in the world. We will continue to be the best as long as we exist … as long as we remember and live by our core values, as long as we are training to the best of our abilities, and as long as we -- as warfighters -- continue to fight for all that is right and just: freedom and democracy for our country and our fellow citizens.
I’d like to take a moment to share some sad news with our Team Little Rock community. This past week we’ve had to say untimely farewells to two members of our Air Force family. Maj. Charles Roberts, 314th Medical Group, and Master Sgt. Tracy Sisco, 314th Security Forces Squadron, passed away this week. There’s no one thing to be said that could pay proper tribute to everything that is owed to these two comrades for their service. Our entire nation should be grateful for their patriotism, and we are grateful to them for their friendship and leadership. Both are already truly missed, however, we as an Air Force family must press on in the shadow of their legacy and continue to carry the torch they helped us all keep lit with fond memories of them…always.

One final note, especially for those fathers out there, and as the father of two beautiful children myself: have a safe and well-deserved Fathers’ Day Sunday. Each member of Team Little Rock, as well as our Air Force and sister-service comrades, work hard in service to our country so our children of today can have a better tomorrow.

Combat Airlift!


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