By Brig. Gen. Rowayne A. Schatz, Jr.
19th Airlift Wing commander
This past week we completed our first ROCKEX under Air Mobility Command. Overall, it was a valuable learning experience for us all, and every Airman involved showed a tremendous ability to adapt and overcome challenges. In times of war, things don’t always go as expected. That is why we practice and test our processes and procedures with these exercises to streamline and create habitual responses to conditions we may face. However, when things go wrong, it is equally important to be able to analyze the problem, adapt our response to it, and overcome the problem through our critical and creative thinking. The exercise evaluation team members tested us and we did well, but we still have a ways to go. Remember, America is depending on us to deliver a Combat Airlift capability that is second to none; therefore, we must strive to continually improve.
One of the lessons we can learn from the ROCKEX is the importance of owning our processes. Each of us is the subject matter expert in our respective career fields. Every day, we do a specific job that no one else can do better. That means we take pride in our tasks when they are completed successfully, and we take ownership of our shortfalls when things don’t go as planned.
When these exercises or other inspections come, it’s important that we use these opportunities as a chance to grow, and we can only do that if we honestly and humbly accept our shortfalls as lessons learned. Here at the Rock, no one is expected to be perfect, but everyone is expected to be teachable.
Another lesson we can learn is how beneficial it can be to blend individuals of varying levels of experience. Supervisors - you carry the torch passed to you by your predecessors when they took the time to sit with you, turn a wrench with you, and provide valuable one-on-one training to help mold you into the experts you are. The torch will inevitably be passed to the young Airmen who need you to show them the way. The only way to accomplish this is to integrate both experienced and non-experienced personnel. Our teamwork is not only the backbone of our present success, but is the key to safeguarding the future of our Air Force and America.
Thank you for all your hard work during the ROCKEX, for your willingness to face and overcome challenges, and your demonstration of teamwork.