Edwards Air Force Base Moves To HPCON C

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Times call for leaders to provide, receive support

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. William Milligan
  • AETC Command Chief Master Sergeant
As we wage our war on terrorism, we must remember that, although training, education and equipment enable us to execute effectively, the traits of basic discipline and positive leadership will ensure we succeed.

It is extremely important that all leaders continue to exhibit these qualities. It is also just as important that we maintain commitment to mission and institution, and ensure subordinates understand their role in our Air Force.

All leaders have the responsibility of mentoring subordinates and serving as a role model regardless of gender, race or religion. This is a responsibility leaders cannot choose to accept. It is inherent with rank and position.

Leaders must recognize and understand their every action and deed serves as a model for others to emulate. Be a positive role model, because in these positions leaders represent the "company." Leaders are the "they" airmen refer to when they say "they!"

Those with the most influence are the junior NCOs who directly supervise airmen on a daily basis. NCOs greatly impact the perceptions and ideals these airmen have of our Air Force and directly determine their decision to serve. It can, at times, seem like an overwhelming responsibility, but it's one our NCOs and all leaders are prepared to accept.

Being responsible is not always a glorious position. At times, it requires leaders to say and do things people will not like. Subordinates need to realize there are times when leaders must make decisions that are not popular. However, people better respect and appreciate leaders' actions when their supervisors and commanders know the issues affecting them and can tell them how they fit into the big picture.

As Gen. Hal Hornburg, former AETC commander, says, "People don't truly leave or stay in our Air Force for money. They do it for perceived self-worth." Ensuring people know how their role contributes to the overall mission provides this self-worth.

Everyone in our Air Force has a vested interest in every sortie. From the maintenance person who prepares the aircraft to the medic who ensured the pilot was prepared to fly. We all have an interest and all are important to its success.

That success is not contingent on thinking about personal desires. There is no room for "me-isms" -- being concerned about issues that affect only "me." Throughout his tenure as AETC commander, Hornburg stressed the four U's: USA, USAF, unit, and "U" the individual. Each one below must support the one above. At the point one below takes precedence over one above, we are doing something wrong.

Leadership must make some extremely tough decisions, especially in times of war. One can only imagine the choices our civilian and military leaders must make today. Rest assured, these decisions are made with the best of intentions. We must support our leaders if we are to be successful.

There are times to provide input in the process of supporting our leaders. If we don't like something, we should speak up. At that point, leadership will examine the situation and make a decision. If we don't like the decision, it's okay to get mad -- then get over it! It's not about us. It's about the country, the institution and the mission.

As I read one time, a positive attitude is contagious; catch it! There has never been a statue erected to a critic. People must see the glass half full vice half empty. Don't see obstacles instead of opportunity. Negative people say it's possible but too difficult, while a positive person believes it is difficult but possible.

It's this kind of attitude displayed by leaders that results in the people of our great Air Force accomplishing the impossible. After all, it is those leaders who encourage more than criticize to move our Air Force onward and upward.

We are facing some difficult challenges in the near future, and our leaders will be faced with tough decisions. However, there is no doubt the people of our great Air Force will be ready for the task. We understand that it is important to put institution and mission first. That's why we are the best Air Force in the world -- America's Air Force; No One Comes Close. (Courtesy Air Training and Education Command News Service)