By Lt. Gen. Darren McDew
18th Air Force commander
SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Il. — To the Airmen of our great global mobility enterprise: thank you! We have asked a great deal from you and your families this year. Through it all you have been the model for operational excellence and allowed our Nation to accomplish some amazing things across the globe. You are, without a doubt, essential members of the world’s finest joint team and as your commander, I am extremely proud of you!
Bold, Innovative, Risk-Taking Airmen Although I don›t have a “crystal ball,” I have no doubt our capabilities will remain in high demand in 2013. At the same time, we will undoubtedly face new challenges in terms of resources, modernization and force structure as well as the usual array of manmade and natural crises to which we always stand ready to respond. I know we will be successful thanks to our greatest resource: Bold, innovative, risk-taking Airmen.
The great pioneers of our Air Force were exceptional men and women dedicated to making things better. Their bold, innovative, risk-taking culture is what made our Air Force great. That culture has no AFSC, and is not limited to any one component, it is Total Force.
You are among the most battle-tested warriors in the history of our service. I am confident that you are the right Airmen to lead us to success, regardless of what the future holds.
So I need you to lead!
I’ve been asked many times what I see as the mission of the 18th Air Force, as well as my vision of where we need to go. I’ve put a lot of thought into it and talked to numerous Airmen during my travels throughout our command, and for me, the answer is pretty simple: our mission is to lead our Air Force toward the solutions to our greatest challenges. Or, to put it in terms of a mission statement: “Airmen delivering innovative rapid global mobility solutions through operational expertise and capabilities. 18th Air Force – America’s rapid global mobility leaders!”
As we work toward together, codifying and sustaining those processes that will help us make this mission a reality, we must look toward the future. Our global mobility enterprise has been extremely successful throughout the years because we consistently look beyond the horizon to tomorrow’s challenges. Our success is dependent on sustaining the same culture that forged our great Air Force. With this in mind, my vision for the 18th Air Force is “inspired by a bold heritage, Mobility Airmen united by a culture of agile and sustainable operational excellence.”
But pretty words aside, my “commander’s intent,” what I need you to take from all this, is simple: the best ideas are not going to come from me. You not only hold the keys, but the responsibility, to build tomorrow›s Air Force and posture it for success.
Be bold! Don’t be afraid to take intelligent risks to make things better. Be innovative! Help us find unique solutions to problems before they become problems. But most of all, give our Air Force what it needs the most ... strong leadership!
I thank you and your families for your service and for all you have and continue to do for our Air Force and Nation. Be safe, have a happy and meaningful holiday season, and I look forward to working together with you to meet our challenges in 2013.
DARREN W. McDEW,
Lieutenant General, USAF