Bird's Eye View: Edwards practices to make perfect

  • Published
  • By Col. H. Brent Baker Sr.
  • 95th Air Base Wing commander
I'm proud of you.

That's not something I say very often in this column, but after last week's Operational Readiness Exercise, it needs to be said.

Our Air Force Flight Test Center Inspector General has said this most recent ORE was the best we've done so far. Honestly, this doesn't surprise me. Since I've been here, we've conducted nine exercises in preparation for the March Operational Readiness Inspection. Each time we practice, we improve on our prior performance. This is in no small part due to our ability to learn from our past mistakes and correct them.

An excellent example of this is last month's Operation Urgent Look. During that inspection, we saw several deficiencies that Edwards needs to correct before the ORI. From not having feedbacks properly documented to having some of our vehicles in an unsafe operating condition, we recognized that we weren't quite ready for the ORI. Since that inspection, all of you have been working hard to correct those deficiencies.

This coming week, we're going to do it again as the 95th Air Base Wing will conduct a mini Operation Urgent Look II. I'm certain we're going to be in far better position than where we were previously.

The old adage says, "practice makes perfect." Although I'm not expecting us to do everything perfectly during the ORI, we've certainly come a long way since that first exercise almost two years ago. Remember, when we debated if we could even conduct a real exercise?

We're almost at the finish line, and I'm confident we're going to take the ORI's "checkered flag."

Mesquite Meadows nears completion

All of the homes are built. The streets are paved. The light poles are lit. After a year of hard work, the Mesquite Meadows housing area is near completion.

It's been a very long process to get this area demolished and rebuilt with these incredible-looking homes, but for the first residents in this neighborhood, the improvements will be well worth the wait.

Most notable among the improvements is the inclusion of central heat and air to keep the home at a reasonable temperature during the Mojave Desert's hot summers and cold winters. If you've spent a year at Edwards, you know how much the temperature can vary in a single day. These energy-efficient homes will provide comfortable environment whether it's 15 degrees or 115 degrees outside.

We're still working on landscaping the area, but when Mesquite Meadows is complete, we'll be moving many of our junior enlisted into the 55 homes.

There are many important things happening with Edwards' military family housing areas. I'll be discussing these at my next Housing Town Hall Meeting on Feb. 28 at 6 p.m. in the Base Theater. I encourage each of you to come to the meeting with your housing-related questions.

Stressed out? Just relax

With less people to handle increased workloads -- not to mention the upcoming ORI -- you may find yourself under a considerable amount of stress. I've personally noticed the stress level is unusually high in many of the people I've talked to in the last several weeks.

Sometimes it seems like we've got way too much on our plates, and it appears nearly impossible to get every task done. The most important thing to do is to not panic.

First, take a deep breath. Prioritize your to-do list and put your mission-essential items at the top. Just work through them one by one. If you find yourself stuck between two mission-essential tasks, don't be afraid to ask a co-worker or your supervisor for help.

If you prefer to bring your lunch to the office so you can continue to work, you may be putting too much pressure on yourself to get things done. A lunch break should be just that -- a break. Get out of the office and away from hustle and bustle, and have a relaxing lunch. When you get back to the office, you can face your to-do list with renewed energy. We have some nice parks on base which are perfect for a 30-minute getaway.

Finally, if you have some leave days you can burn, consider taking some time off. They are your leave days, and you've earned them. Stay home and do something you enjoy.
If you're starting to feel the pressure, take a moment to just relax. Have a wonderful, stress-free weekend!