Unrivaled wingman: a personal transformation
By Lt. Col. Michael Gibbons , 43rd Flying Training Squadron commander
/ Published September 05, 2007
COLUMBUS AFB, Miss. --
Our Air Force is currently experiencing many challenges including Global War on Terrorism, Base Realignment and Closure and Force Shaping. We do this as we work towards a 2015 force structure and technological transformation. Recently I have read two books about the D-Day invasion of Normandy June 6, 1944. Both books contained accounts from solders of both the German side and the American side. These books had the same underlying message: the mission is always accomplished below the commander level by those who make the decision to stay in the fight no matter what the odds.
So how do Airmen stay in the fight with the challenges previously pointed out? Today we are using tools such as Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century to lean out our work area process's to transform our efficiencies. How can we be an Unrivaled Wingman with personnel and budget cuts and transform our processes? Is this the "more with less" concept? I believe not. There is no place for inefficient, unmotivated, distracted Airmen. All must be in the fight so others don't have to carry the load for them. Individuals must transform their thinking so that they can be a fully balanced efficient member of the team. So how can an individual transform themselves?
Right now we look at education, innovation and transformation as key words for the Air Force road ahead. Without realization and motivation you can not take that road ahead. I will discuss each step in the order I believe must be taken.
1. Realization: There are so many hours in a day and so many aspects of our lives. These include our physical well being, family, friends and the mission. To be an Unrivaled Wingman you need to find a balance of those aspects in your daily life. When you realize those aspects are out of balance then you can move on to the next step.
2. Motivation: Your commander can mentor you or give speeches all day but self motivation comes down to one word...goals. You must set goals for all aspects of your life. Things such as a score on a Career Development Course, time on the 1.5 mile run, vacation with the family, your next promotion or the assignment you desire.
3. Education: Reading the right information is a great step. Everyday we log on to the AF portal but how many times do you read what the Chief of Staff of the Air Force or Secretary of the Air Force have to say. We can spend hours a day watching the TV but never read the news on the portal front page. How about reading Airmen magazine, Silver Wings, Torch or Citizen Airmen. There is more knowledge available then you can imagine. It can help you with career and life decisions. You cannot transform into an Unrivaled Wingman without education and professional reading plays a key part.
4. Innovation: Prioritize, organize and balance all the aspects of your life. Innovation can only come from education so you don't waste all your time "reinventing the wheel" when you need to reinvent yourself. Establish a personal PT schedule. Organize your work schedule to be more efficient. Open your e-mail after you have accomplished other demanding items off a list. Plan a vacation with you family and monthly outings. Subscribe to a publication, do PME or set aside time to read what is going on in your Air Force. Make a plan for proper nutrition and sufficient sleep.
5. Transformation: Coordinate your plan with your family and boss and put it into effect. Be diligent and never give up on your goals. If you need to reevaluate then adjust as required. You can take a before and after picture of your life. Eventually you will have transformed yourself into the Unrivaled Wingman ready and able to be a part of the team that leads our Air Force into the future.
Your Air Force needs you to transform with it. Fly, Fight, Win!