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Our most important asset: Airmen

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Paul Skala
  • 16th MDSS commander
Time and again, Team Hurlburt has proven the ability to rain down lethal combat power against America’s enemies across the globe.

Our continued success in the no-fail Global War on Terrorism is not only dependent upon cutting-edge technology, innovative leadership and significant financial resources but also the unparalleled quality of our Airmen. Col. Norman Brozenick’s, 16th Special Operations Wing commander “Take Best Care of our Wingmen, Families and Resources” Aimpoint laser focuses our energy to achieve the ultimate potential from every member of our team–military and civilians.

Taking Best Care of Our Wingmen first requires making a personal investment in each of our Airmen. Our Air Commandos are part of a special brother/sisterhood who put their lives on the line for the mission and each other while in combat. Likewise, taking best care of our wingmen while here demands that we aggressively prevent our fellow Airmen from taking life-threatening risks such as driving under the influence, engaging in alcohol related incidents or tolerating behavior which could lead to sexual assault. Nothing is more precious than the safety and well being of our family members, and our Team Hurlburt wingmen are our family members.

Just as we would never allow family members to engage in a reckless activity that could end their life, we must have the same commitment to take immediate action and protect our wingmen.

Yogi Berra, a Hall of Fame baseball player and three time most valuable player with the New York Yankees, defined the special obligation of teammates when he said “when you’re part of a team, you stand up for your teammates. Your loyalty is to them. You protect them through good and bad, because they’d do the same for you.”

Flexibility and creative leadership are also important. A simple pat on the back for a job well done is often just what is needed and can make a world of difference. Superbly documenting exceptional results using our Hurlburt quarterly and annual award programs and annual performance reports formally recognizes our superstars and is key to grooming the next generation of Air Commando leaders.

As we promote our best Airmen, we increase their opportunities in our Air Force, which has the additional benefit of taking care of their families.

In some instances, taking best care of our wingmen requires “tough love” to redirect performance and assist in their personal and professional growth.

The special bond that exists between Team Hurlburt wingmen also exists between our families, especially during times of crisis. Taking best care of our wingman demands that we remain vigilantly aware of the stressors facing our Airmen and taking the time to informally speak with them if we notice changes in behavior. You may never know the positive impact you have on your fellow wingman and their family by simply taking the time to ask how they are doing and volunteering to help.

The 16th SOW and Team Hurlburt partner units’ blistering record of mission success is a direct result of taking best care of our wingmen, families and resources. By continuing to focus on our Airmen first, Team Hurlburt will guarantee victory in the GWOT and A+ results on the upcoming operational readiness inspection.