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Fiesta of Flight 2020
Commander's Corner Archive
Command philosophy: professionalism, mission, balance
Professionalism, Mission, and Balance are key components of my command philosophy. These are components that I feel are crucial for mission success, the health of the force, longevity, personal satisfaction, and personal drive.
One of Col Gentile’s 2019 focus areas for our wing is strengthening relationships. He has asked each member of Team XL to bolster relationships with our families, friends, and the Airman around us to include our subordinates, our peers, and our bosses. Upon hearing this focus area, I was reminded of an enduring lesson in leadership and life: relationships matter. Relationships matter because they form the foundation of success. This is especially true here at Laughlin. Building combat-ready pilots is a team sport that requires the contribution of many. No one accomplishes our mission alone. Instead, strong relationships enable mission success.
Leadership: how hard can it be?
Charles Webb III, 47th Maintenance Directorate director, asks if leaders born or if they are taught, and he believes there are expert opinions supporting both ideas. He says just because one’s mom or dad made it to the rank of general doesn’t mean they’ve got the natural leadership ability to make a good general, but he points out the Air Force feels strongly that leaders can be created.
Putting our problems in perspective: visual reminders
If you’ve ever visited my office, you’ll notice that I have a framed photograph hanging rather prominently on my back wall. The picture is of an Air Force Honor Guard member, diligently standing guard over two flag-draped caskets in the back of a C-17. This picture serves as a reminder of one of the most important jobs I have ever held in the Air Force.
Search for Initiative and Ownership
When Gen. David Goldfein became Chief of Staff of the Air Force in mid-2016, he called squadrons the “beating heart” of the service and promised his first year as chief would focus on revitalizing the squadron, as the core-fighting unit of the Air Force. Now, with this new focus, it’s critical for one to dig deeper to discover the root of this shift in mindset— generating initiative and ownership.
Commander's corner: eating frogs for a living
When I think about leadership and what attributes make a good leader, there is a laundry list I come up with; however, mental toughness is what stands out. There may be many factors on how one achieves or cultivates mental toughness, but at its core, achieving this skill starts with making a deliberate concerted choice each and every day to eat the proverbial frog.
Many years ago several people were blindfolded and taken to the same location, their hands were placed on the same item. They were asked to identify what the item was. Each of them, based on their perspective, described a different item. One described touching a tree trunk, one described a wall, one a rope and another a snake. Remember, each was touching the same item.
Commander’s Corner: Get out there and go get it!
An obvious trait I see in successful people is their ability to recognize opportunity and act on it. Success usually doesn’t come by sitting back and waiting for it to come to you. Opportunity may present itself Being in a leadership position in the Air Force has allowed me to watch opportunity play out. Some people look at an opportunity and watch it fly right by and wonder later why nothing good ever happens to them. Other people pounce when opportunity shows itself. to you or you may have to seek it out, but once it comes, you have to have the fortitude to seize it and do something with it.
Commander's Corner: Doors of Opportunity
I am often asked, “Chief, what was the secret to your many achievements throughout your career?” To which I would respond with, “doors of opportunity,” which is not a secret. Former Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Robert Gaylor has been quoted saying that one of the keys to being successful is to take advantage of the opportunities when they come along. This is exactly what I was able to do, and the main reason that I joined the Air Force.
Commander's Corner: Memoires from an AF Reserve Commander
In 1998, the 96th FTS was reactivated at Laughlin AFB as the first Air Force Reserve unit to employ all three pilot training airframes (T-37, T-38, and T-1) as part of an integrated initiative supporting Undergraduate Pilot Training. Today, experienced and seasoned Citizen Airmen from the squadron serve side-by-side with their active duty counterparts instructing students in all three Laughlin airframes: the T-6, T-38 and T-1.