Thursday, October 30, 2008

COMMENTARY>>Back to Basics: Staying in focus

By Lt. Col. Chris Kennedy
Det 3, AMCAOS Operations Officer

It’s no secret that today’s Air Force is busier than at any time in its 61 year history. In a recent speech to the Air Force Association, Gen. Norton A. Schwartz stated there are currently more than 28,000 Airmen deployed supporting operations in 63 separate locations in Central Command, another 5,000 supporting contingency operations, and many others performing vital homeland security and various missions around the globe. Truly, the sun never sets on the United States Air Force.

Combat Airlift plays a vital role in these operations contributing in large numbers to the more than 300 sorties per day over the skies of Iraq and Afghanistan, supporting our brothers-in-arms performing missions such as convoy support and base defense, and delivering aid to those in need after two hurricanes hit our nation’s coastline.

With all these on-going and short notice taskings, it becomes very easy to lose focus on accomplishing our “routine” home station mission. Insidiously, complacency creeps into our daily home stations operations. The way to fight complacency is to get back to basics. So, how do we do this?

A former wing commander of mine used “the three fingers” technique of refocusing his Airmen. First, take care of yourself. You must take some time for yourself every once in a while to recharge your batteries. Second, take care of your family. It is imperative that your family’s needs be met, so while performing the mission, you don’t have to worry. Finally he would say, whatever is left would be enough to accomplish the mission.

While the first two will help focus you, especially while deployed, I believe it takes more to keep our focus while at home station. We must ensure we don’t take the approach that we can accomplish a task simply because we’ve done it a hundred times before. Home station is the time to “get back into the books” and ensure we are accomplishing the tasks at hand the correct way. So while back at home, take the extra time to plan the mission, research the contract and troubleshoot the problem, no matter what your specialty, to ensure mistakes are not made due to complacency.


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