Friday, January 9, 2009

COMMENTARY>>What to do in 2009

By Col. Charles Hyde
314th Airlift Wing Commander

General Patton said “Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.” Airmen thrive on this principle; we are known as being an innovative and adaptive service that is willing to empower our people and embrace new technology. Armed with a vision and mission, Airmen will demonstrate ingenuity and figure out how to get the job done. As we look to the new year, I’d like to offer three “what to do” things for 2009 – it’s up to you to provide the “how” and apply them.

First, live the core values – integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do. How we live out our core values changes with circumstances we encounter on and off duty, but the core values form an unchanging foundation integral to mission and life success. Over the holidays I read the obituary of Kevin McManus, an Airman who was shot down over North Vietnam and spent six years in the Hanoi Hilton. His F-4 pilot and cell mate described his response to difficult circumstances by saying he never shirked from his duty, never wavered from the Code of Conduct and lived the core values long before they were codified. Circumstances change, but our character and commitment to the core values will leave a lasting impact on our fellow Airmen and Air Force.

Second, set a good example. Field Marshall Erwin Rommel summed up this “what to do” by saying, “Be an example to your men, in your duty and your private life. Never spare yourself and let the troops see that you don’t in your endurance of fatigue and privation. Always be tactful and well mannered and teach your subordinates to be the same. Avoid excessive sharpness or harshness of voice, which usually indicates the man, who has shortcomings of his own to hide.” Attitude and performance follow leadership. Each and every one of us should be a leader by setting a good example.

Third, take care of Airmen. Be a good wingman, and help fellow Airmen watch out for unseen or hidden dangers. Our commitment to never leave a fallen Airman behind starts with a commitment to take care of each other in our daily activities. Next, take care of Airmen by taking care of their families. We have great family support programs that have grown over my career, but nothing can take the place of a visit, phone call, note or invitation from someone who cares. Finally, take care of yourself and your family. Our success requires vigilance and consistency over time. We can win battles and lose the war. Therefore, we must have balance in our lives – spiritual, physical, personal,
and professional – to stand the test of time.

I wish every member of Team Little Rock a Happy New Year! Use your ingenuity to live the core values, set a good example and take care of Airmen. If we do, 2009 will be a great year for Team Little Rock.


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