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Commander's Corner Archive

  • 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.
  • Laughlin’s Elephant

    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.
  • Respect, Connect, Correct: A Simple Mantra for Squadron Strength

    In any high-performing organization, especially one dedicated to instruction or training, personal relationships and technical credibility form cornerstones to success. At every unit all-call, and upon meeting any new squadron member, I emphasize a three word mantra aimed to focus efforts on building credibility and strengthening relationships – Respect, Connect, Correct.
  • Commander's Corner: Together...We Are Laughlin

    Hopefully by now you’ve heard me say it. ”We are Laughlin!” Sure, every now and then I get the “Da---Da-Da---Da---Da-Da-Da” (think Farmers Insurance commercial), and I’m okay with that. But more often than that I get a more serious question, “What does it mean?” Or better yet, “So what?” Both are fair questions, and hopefully after hearing what “We are Laughlin” means to me, both will be answered.
  • Importance of Feedback

    The impact of feedback, both positive and negative, should not be underestimated. Every day, I talk to our Airmen – our officers, our enlisted, the hundreds of civilians, and the many family members who call Laughlin home – about their experiences here at the base. Not surprisingly, people have unpleasant experiences from time to time.
  • Commander's corner: Foul-weather leadership

    Perhaps our ability to lead in difficult times is what matters most in command, or in general, leadership. Most people can probably do well in fair weather; you know the type – they show up to work on time, smile, get along with others, and report good metrics when everything is going well. But how do they (how do you) react during those seemingly intractable problems or unexpected crises?