Thursday, October 28, 2010

C0MMENTARY>>Value of partnerships

By Lt. Col. John Vaughn
48th Airlift Squadron commander

Perhaps some of you have seen that new television show, “Undercover Boss?”

For those of you who haven’t, the premise is that the CEO of a company goes undercover and works in a couple different positions far removed from the office furniture, staff meetings and power lunches we normally associate with the term “CEO.”

While watching a CEO try to man an assembly line or load boxes can be comical at times, there is a bigger point. The CEO wants to know what really goes on in the company and how he or she can make it better.

A few weeks ago, I got to sort of play “Undercover Boss.” I made no effort to hide my identity, and I’m not the boss of the people I went to work with ... Gold AMU. For those of you not familiar with the 48th Airlift Squadron’s relationship with Gold AMU (or simply Gold), Gold provides maintenance support for the seven aircraft at the C-130J Flying Training Unit. We couldn’t train C-130J aircrew members without them. “Vital” would be an understatement.

For that reason, I wanted to go on the flightline, spend time with them, and get to see how they did their mission. What goes into generating an aircraft sortie? How long does it take? Are the people happy? What’s on their minds?

Before I answer those questions, let me start by thanking the leadership at Gold for allowing this to happen. It has made me a better commander – and I sincerely hope you will see that reflected in our units’ relationship. And a special thanks to Senior Airman Daniel Ward who allowed me to shadow him for the day. Airman Ward will be the 48th’s “Commander for the Day” in the near future. I look forward to returning the favor.

I learned that waiting for an aircraft to launch can be pretty boring – if you’ve done your job well ... And they had. I also got a new appreciation for working on top of the wing. Somehow a plane running its engines in the spot in front of me means more to me now than it used to. I can see how people could get focused on a task up there and slip or lose their balance. Did I mention the top of the aircraft gets really hot when it’s 90 degrees outside? And yes, I even got to turn some wrenches – but don’t worry, I was supervised the whole time. And the people? Phenomenal people! Phenomenal professionals. Do they have issues, concerns and complaints? Of course. In fact, I’ve already brought some of those issues up with our senior enlisted members. Will we fix them all? No, but that doesn’t mean we won’t try.

At this point you might be thinking, that’s nice – some guy I don’t know got to be a maintainer for a day, and he had fun and learned a lot – so what? Col. Mark Czelusta, the 314th Airlift Wing commander, says our mission is “pointless and impossible without partnerships.” Normally, when we think about partnerships on that scale, we think about the partnership of the 314th AW, 189th Airlift Wing and 19th Airlift Wing – or between nations like India and the U.S. We don’t think about the guy down the hall who brings in the reports (you need to do your job) twice a week...or the office to which you send every single person after they’ve processed through you. How does that guy do his job? And what about that other office? Are we overloading them? The point is our partners are all those people and organizations we work with and depend on daily. We should all strive to better understand our partners and their needs. If we do a better job of meeting their needs, they’ll do a better job of meeting ours. So who are your partners and what do you need to learn about them? One of mine just happens to set the standard for C-130J maintenance excellence.

Thank you Gold!

TOP STORY > >Herculean effort lifts 1,700 paratroopers

By Capt. Paradon Silpasornprasit
615th Contingency Response Wing Public Affairs

ALEXANDRIA, La. – Civilian passengers catching connecting flights in and out of the Alexandria International Airport in Louisiana couldn’t help but notice a massive formation of military cargo aircraft sharing their airspace.

Beginning at dusk, nearly 30 cargo aircraft descended on the airport Oct. 18 as part of a Joint Readiness Training Center exercise. Members of the 615th Contingency Response Wing were at the ready to help facilitate the influx of air traffic. A team of 113 CRW Airmen aided in moving 1,700 paratroopers and more than 70 tons of equipment during the massive training event.

Both C-130 Hercules and C-17 Globemaster III cargo planes lumbered along the tarmac transporting Army paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division from Fort Bragg, N.C., skyward for the exercise – the largest movement of paratroopers seen in more than a decade. Day and night, aircrews provided the moving platforms from which the paratroopers jumped from during the week’s maneuvers.

“We worked very efficiently,” said Airman 1st Class Christopher Tolleson, 570th Global Mobility Squadron aerial porter. “With that many planes, you have to put your best foot forward because there is very little room for error.”

The role of the 615th CRW Airmen was to manage airfield operations while overseeing air traffic and the loading and unloading of passengers and cargo while ensuring the flying and jump missions continued unimpeded even by darkness and bad weather.

“This training opportunity is realistic, difficult and essential to honing joint combat power,” said Col. Michael Minihan, 19th Airlift Wing commander. “Our success was a team effort... Active-duty, Reserves, Air National Guard, contingency response and special ops Airmen put forth a max effort and were simply a joy to watch in action. The joint team deserves our best effort every day... this op (operation) is proof.”

The Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, La., hosted the exercise, with the goal to provide a realistic training environment for Airmen and Soldiers who may be called upon to rapidly respond to an air mobility contingency together - an increasingly common occurrence for today’s expeditionary military forces. Wartime operations, humanitarian crises and medical evacuation missions often require a quick turn-around from militaryairlift experts.

“This Airborne Assault to begin this JRTC exercise displayed the joint capabilities between airborne forces and the airlift (air mobility) forces,” said Col. David Chandler, 570th Contingency Response Group commander. “The scale of this operation has not been seen in many years - this operation demonstrated true joint training and capability to respond when and where our nation needs.”

This included planning for the exercise to logistical support and launching 29 aircraft including 26 C-130s from Dyess, Keesler and Little Rock Air Force bases, assembling the jumpers and aircraft on the ground at a civilian airport, providing marshalling, landing and command and control support by the contingency response group, and the support provided by the community of Alexandria. Airmen from the 621st CRW from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., also took part in the exercise.

Air Mobility Command is always looking for ways to make mobility operations faster, better and more efficient. Exercises like the annual JRTC allow them to test different concepts that help increase velocity and precision. AMC provides unrivaled global reach for America. Participating in exercises like this, ensures AMC continues to provide reliable, rapid and agile global reach.

“The Army and Air Force were in lockstep on this one,” Chandler said.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

COMMENTARY>>21 Little Rock Herks lend muscle to Army exercise

A large-scale formation of 26 C-130 Hercules aircraft, including 21 from Little Rock Air Force Base, took off from the base Monday to take part in a Joint Readiness Training Center exercise.

As part of the Army exercise, the 26 C-130s flew to Alexandria International Airport in Alexandria, La., to pick up approximately 1,700 Army 82nd Airborne Division’s 3rd Brigade paratroopers and tons of cargo from Fort Bragg, N.C., and airdropped them near Fort Polk, La.

“It’s a cool opportunity. Flying in general has always been what we all want to do,” said Capt. Morgan Musser, 61st Airlift Squadron pilot. “The culmination is getting to fly a 31-ship formation which is something you don’t get to do very often. And to work with the Army is an opportunity to exercise today for what could be real world tomorrow.”

Joined by five C-17 Globemaster IIIs for a total massive formation of 31 cargo aircraft, they airdropped the Soldiers and supplies into the heart of the Army’s exercise at Fort Polk.

“I think this is great training. It’s stuff you don’t see often, especially with a 31-ship formation dropping personnel,” said Staff Sgt. Greg Flores, 41st Airlift Squadron loadmaster. “When I became a loadmaster, I wanted to do things that immediately affected what was going on in the warzone. We normally carry cargo from place to place, but we don’t [transport] personnel very often, so doing the JRTC is great training.”

The Joint Readiness Training Center provides realistic training using scenarios that allow integration between joint military organizations, host nations and civilian role-players.

“It’s the unknown that we train for, in case we have to get a mass amount of people there,” said Captain Musser. “The large formation is how we’ll be doing that so it’s good we practice that once in a while now so we’re not caught completely off-guard.”

The 26 aircraft were a combination of C-130E and H legacy models and the newest model, the C-130J.

(Courtesy of the 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs)

COMMENTARY>>Be accountable

By Chief Master Sgt. Charles Fletcher
314th Maintenance Group superintendent

“I’m not the regular crew chief.” “It’s not my program.” “They didn’t count all my push-ups.” “This isn’t my normal job.”

How many of you have heard, or maybe even used, these excuses when your performance didn’t measure up? We are all accountable to someone: to our commanders, organizations, country and taxpayers. Even our president is accountable to the people of the United States. We are accountable for our personal lives and our families, so why not make sure we are accountable as professionals?

We are all part of the Air Force team and individual accountability is critical to teamwork and the execution of our mission.

Everyone has to do their part in order for the Air Force to be successful and this means being accountable for our duties and responsibilities.

You can compare this to a football team. If the offensive line doesn’t block the opposing defense, then the quarterback gets sacked and the team doesn’t score. You see they are accountable to one another. The Air Force is no different and is even more critical depending on the situation.

If the crew chief doesn’t do a good inspection on an aircraft and it aborts then the pilot won’t be successful in performing the mission. This could be the difference between life and death in the combat zone. This is one example of accountability.

One thing leaders can’t forget is that not only are we accountable to those above us, but also to those who work for us.

To quote Stephen Covey, the author if the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, “Accountability breeds response-ability.” We are responsible and accountable up and down the chain of command. Leaders are accountable to their subordinates for their training and mentoring.

Supervisors are accountable to their Airmen to ensure they have all the tools to get the job done and to ensure they are given sufficient time for meals and rest between tasks when necessary. They also need to hold their Airmen accountable when they don’t meet established standards. Finally, you also need to be accountable to yourself by staying in good physical shape, expanding your knowledge or education and continually improving your work performance.

So let’s stop making excuses and be accountable.

TOP STORY > >Grab a bag, help a Little Rock family in need

By Staff Sgt. Nestor Cruz
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Commissary shoppers will see special brown paper bags of food near the front entrance at least once a month, but these aren’t grab bags to take home.

The bags of food are part of a new program to help Team Little Rock families in need.

“The program is Airmen Helping Airmen and the purpose is to help the base food pantry,” said Susan Czelusta, wife of Col. Mark Czelusta, 314th Airlift Wing commander. “I knew there was a need and that supplies run low during this season. So I talked with other spouses, and we came up with a plan to do this on paydays.”

Mrs. Czelusta created three different food bags with non-perishable items such as canned chicken, canned soup, boxes of macaroni and cheese, peanut butter and bags of rice. Each bag is priced at just under $5.

Mrs. Czelusta and other spouses will be at the commissary front entrance at least once a month to help explain the program to shoppers.

“It’s really easy,” she said. “All people have to do is come in and pick up a bag. A cashier will scan the bag, and a bagger will take the bag to an area reserved for the base food pantry. We take care of the rest.”

At the end of the day, Airmen Helping Airmen volunteers will deliver the bags to the pantry.

Mrs. Czelusta said she went on the Internet and researched what items are normally stocked in a food pantry. She took that list and found out what items were needed at the base’s own food pantry.

Her next step was recruiting help to make the program a success.

“I got with the commissary staff to ask for help and Julie Hall [the commissary manager] was more than willing to help,” said Mrs. Czelusta.

Mrs. Hall was instrumental in providing money-saving coupons and finding the best deals, giving Airmen Helping Airmen volunteers “more bang for the buck,” added Mrs. Czelusta.

“Mrs. Hall has worked hard with us to make sure we got the best prices and best values, so we actually have quite a bit of food in each bag,” said Ashley Minihan, wife of Col. Mike Minihan, 19th Airlift Wing commander.

She helped Mrs. Czelusta fill 150 bags for the program launch Oct. 15 at 9 a.m. At approximately 11:30 a.m. all bags were sold thanks to the generosity of Team Little Rock members. In addition to the purchased bags, members from the 373rd Training Squadron donated $140 from a recent fundraiser.

“They did a wonderful job and now there’s quite a bit of food in the pantry,” said Carolyn Craig-Sprow, 19th Force Support Squadron community readiness consultant who manages the base food pantry. “Thanks to the efforts of Mrs. Czelusta and the other volunteers, the food pantry is about halfway filled up now.” By working together as a team, Airmen Helping Airmen provides the opportunity to help more families in need, she added.

“Susan Czelusta has spearheaded this [program] and worked so hard to make it happen,” said Mrs. Minihan. “We’re very happy it’s a base-wide program and our initial success is a combination of everyone working together from all three wings.”

Mrs. Czelusta hopes to continue the program as long as there is a need.

“For the price of a latte, we can help a family in need,” said Mrs. Czelusta. “If our putting together this program prevents even one family from having to go to bed hungry, then it’s worth it.”

Thursday, October 14, 2010

COMMENTARY>>Orange construction cone base’s new unofficial mascot

Across the base every day, Airmen, civilians, and contractors are looking for ways to make Little Rock Air Force Base a better place to work and live.

These personnel see ways to improve the facilities, roadways and airfield areas and then take the initiative to submit a work order, Air Force Form 332, to the 19th Civil Engineer Squadron.

This allows the 19th CES to design and implement a solution for these areas.

Simultaneously, these same difference-makers advocate for money to fund these improvements through their chain of command. This process can be quite lengthy, sometimes taking many years.

This was not the case for fiscal year 2010, however.

Thanks to active teammates, Team Little Rock is about to experience an unprecedented number of improvements.

In fiscal year 2010, Team Little Rock was awarded 78 construction projects; this translated into more than $60 million in construction for the base, beginning over the next several months and continuing throughout the year.

“This is more than a 75-percent increase over our average construction program over the past 11 years, and the most in Little Rock’s history.” said Mike Boyle, 19th CES programs flight chief. “We’ve already seen the implementation of this record year with the new water tank project underway next to the [Base Exchange], and the intersection improvements next to the fitness center and in front of the 19th [Airlift Wing] headquarters building.”

There are more than $6 million in additional street and parking lot repairs to come as well.

John Smith, 19th CES program management section chief, equated this to six miles of roadways and 15 parking lots.

“CE is constantly monitoring our base roadways to ensure they remain in good condition,” he said. “The above average rainfall and heavy construction we’ve seen in the past years can deteriorate roads rather quickly.”

The remaining $54 million in projects will make other significant improvements for the base, including replacing the old water storage tank, beginning an aggressive campaign to improve the sanitary sewer system on base in family housing and working on 66 different facilities.

The construction list also includes six new airfield construction projects, in addition to two that are already underway, totaling more than $8 million.

Contracting, civil engineering, and airfield management are partnering with the contractor to coordinate a successful airfield construction phasing plan that will provide the smallest impact possible to C-130 operations while construction is ongoing.

There are two military construction projects to build a new security forces facility and an addition to flight simulator Bldg. 1228.

The future is bright for the Security Forces Squadron, as their awarded project is to construct a brand new operations building totaling more than 39,000 square feet.

The base is also getting close to having its joint venture education center open with partners from the Jacksonville Community.

The project is currently at 85-percent complete with beneficial occupancy projected for the end of November, and classes starting January 2011.

Mr. Boyle encouraged Team Little Rock to remain flexible.

“With $60 million in improvements come interruptions in our normal routines,” he said. “We will have to adapt to temporary traffic routes, parking areas, work areas and taxiway routes.”

Mr. Boyle assures everyone the 19th CES will phase the construction to cause the least inconvenience possible while accomplishing it in the most timely manner, and will work through the Combat Airlifter and other Team Little Rock venues to advertise upcoming changes.

“When all the dust settles, The Rock will be a better place to work and live,” said Lt. Col. Lance Clark, the 19th CES commander.

“For the next two years, however, we’ll be doing so much to get there that the orange construction cone will be Team Little Rock’s new mascot.”

(Courtesy of the 19th Civil Engineer Squadron)

COMMENTARY>>10 Airmen selected for enlisted supplemental promotions

Ten Airmen from Little Rock Air Force Base have been selected for promotion to the next higher rank as part of the October enlisted supplemental promotion board.

The Airmen are:
Staff Sgt. Travis Taylor,
19th Security Forces Squadron

Senior Airman John King,
19th Equipment
Maintenance Squadron

Senior Airman
Sean Larocque,
19th EMS

Senior Airman
Jesse Dillard,
19th EMS

Senior Airman
Rick Braddy,
19th Logistics

Readiness Squadron
Staff Sgt. Jamie Moniz,
19th LRS

Staff Sgt. Dexter Andrews,
19th LRS

Senior Airman
Steven Saunders,
19th LRS

Senior Airman
Jessie Nieves,
19th Aircraft
Maintenance Squadron

Senior Airman
Joseph Yowell,
19th AMXS

Throughout the Air Force more than 630 Airmen were selected.

Airmen on extended temporary duty or deployed in support of contingencies around the world who are unable to test during their promotion cycle have an opportunity to test upon their return to their duty station. Those selected for promotion are based on average scoring in their respective Air Force specialties for time in grade, time in service, enlisted performance reports, decorations, promotion fitness examination and specialty knowledge test.

AFPC officials said selections are tentative until the data verification process is complete, which is no later than 10 days after the promotion release date. Officials will notify Airmen through their military personnel sections if their selection is in question.

For more information, visit the AFPC public website or contact the Total Force Service Center at (800) 525-0102.

(From compiled reports)

COMMENTARY>>Mistakes foster strength

By Col. Donald Dickerson
314th Maintenance Group commander

A long-standing military axiom asserts “no plan ever survives first contact with the enemy.” You can’t plan for everything and things will surely go wrong at some point. That’s true in combat and it’s true in life. We can fly by the seats of our pants or we can attempt to plan every aspect of our lives down to the smallest detail; either way, problems will arise and there will be times when things don’t go as we wanted.

We show what kind of people we are by how we respond when things don’t go our way. Anybody can be happy and successful when everything is going well. But the world sees what we’re made of through our actions when we encounter life’s inevitable setbacks.

When things don’t go as planned, do you give up in frustration? Flail about in a panic? Look for others to blame? Or do you calmly assess what went wrong, learn lessons from falling short and come up with a new plan?

Mistakes will happen and plans will fall short of expectations. To expect otherwise is unrealistic. Dealing with mistakes – our own and those of the people we lead – is one of a leader’s most important and difficult tasks. Leaders are responsible for the performance of their units and should be held accountable when things don’t go well. However, placing our emphasis on assigning blame rather than applying lessons learned toward better performance in the future is counter-productive and damaging to unit morale.

Analyze every mistake, take lessons from them and share them across not only your own unit, but with similar units as well. I’ve heard formal military “lessons learned” programs called “institutionalized scab picking”, but the truth is every event is a learning situation and we often learn more from failure than we do from success. The most effective units are those with a strong culture of making learning events of their missteps, continuously searching for their weak areas and focusing aggressive improvement efforts on making things better. When things don’t go as they planned, they don’t panic and they don’t argue over who to blame. They fall back, regroup and re-attack with a better plan and they keep doing so until they succeed.

All this is important in our personal lives as well. My life has been about Plan B. None of my early dreams came to pass; in fact the biggest ones came crashing down around me in heartbreaking fashion. Yet, I pulled myself together, examined my remaining options and came up with a new plan. Today, I clearly see my life is better now than it would have been had my original plans worked and it is definitely better than it would have been if I had just given up in despair.

More often than not, things won’t go as planned. So what? Show what you’re made of by how you react and learn, and end up as a stronger leader in a stronger unit because of the experience.

TOP STORY > >Thunder Over the Rock 2010 air show

Little Rock Air Force Base opened its doors to the public Saturday and Sunday for the 2010 air show and thunder echoed over The Rock as air show performers took to the skies to demonstrate civilian and military aircraft capabilities.

Beautiful weather and jaw-dropping performances by the world famous U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds attracted approximately 225,000 guests to Thunder Over the Rock.

“I have been coming to these air shows since I was a kid and now I like to bring my sons to see the show,” said Todd Buck from Conway.

“I like watching the jets the most,” said William Buck, one of Mr. Buck’s sons.

The Air Force’s premier aerial demonstration team, the Thunderbirds, highlighted this year’s show. The flight demonstration exhibited choreographed maneuvers of skills possessed by all Air Force aviators. The performance included various formations, in concert with the fast-paced maneuvers of its two solo pilots. Finally, the team illustrated the pinnacle of precision flying, performing maneuvers locked in as a unit.

This year’s air show featured more than 5 hours of flying demonstrations, which also included world-class acts such as the U.S. Army Golden Knights and Canadian SkyHawks parachute teams; Tora, Tora, Tora World War II reenactment of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor; Disabled American Veterans B-25 demonstration; Shockwave jet truck; Air Force A-10 Warthog, Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier and Navy FA-18 Super Hornet jet demonstrations; and a capabilities exercise of the base’s own C-130s from the 19th, 314th and 189th Airlift Wings. The 11 Little Rock C-130s airdropped equipment and nearly 400 Army paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division.

Retired Lt. Col. Ed Petlak, a former pilot at the base, came to the air show to share his love of aircraft with his family and enjoyed seeing the C-130 demonstration.

“You don’t see many [capabilities exercises]. I used to fly them,” he said. “I was in many of these air shows. I flew a C-130 for 20 years.”

The air show also had more than 40 military and civilian aircraft static displays for attendees to explore.

“I really like all the helicopters, they’re really super cool,” said Dakota Neal, 5, son of Staff Sgt. Chris Cotnoir, 19th Operations Support Squadron air crew flight equipment trainer. “I like the most huge airplanes and the most little airplanes.”
(Courtesy of the 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

COMMENTARY>>19th MDG clears dual inspections

By Airman 1st Class Rochelle Sollars
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The 19th Medical Group staff successfully passed its Health Services Inspection, which was conducted from Sept. 20 to 24 and Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care Inspection from Sept. 22 to 24.

Passing two inspections at the same time proved to inspectors the high level of professionalism which drives Team Little Rock.

“The recent inspection of the 19th MDG was a combination of two agencies simultaneously assessing the training of our staff and the care provided to our customers,” said Chief Master Sgt. Robin Williams, 19th Medical Group superintendent. “These were extremely in-depth inspections, which looked at over 1,600 elements of our operation and in turn they gave us a great insight on how well we comply with both Department of Defense and nationally-recognized health care standards.”

The HSI is a comprehensive inspection conducted by the Air Force Inspection Agency and occurs every three years.

“The purpose of the HSI is to assess the functioning and execution of Air Force Medical Service programs and processes at the local level in order to provide senior leadership with accurate data upon which to base policy decisions,” said Col. David Stanczyk, the 19th MDG commander. “Also, to assess the ability of Air Force medical units to fulfill their peacetime and wartime missions, including the provision of medical care and support to the host wing’s mission.”

The AAAHCI is a private, not-for-profit civilian organization established in 1979. Its focus is on ambulatory health care which means they inspect medical facilities that don’t provide in-patient care. They currently accredit more than 4,800 health care organizations in the U.S. Their focus is on reviewing the quality of health care provided.

“Their goal is to improve and enhance the quality and effectiveness of health care in ambulatory clinics,” said Colonel Stanczyk.

“By receiving AAAHC accreditation, it testifies to the quality of health care provided at that institution.”

The 19th MDG passed both inspections, receiving an overall satisfactory rating and excellent rating in patient care for the HSI, and zero negative findings and a full three year accreditation for the AAAHCI.

“The key is a dedicated and professional staff who takes their duties seriously every day in order to provide the best possible medical care,” said Colonel Stanczyk.

“There were several things that we feel contributed to the success of passing these inspections,” said Chief Williams. “The biggest factor though was the spirited teamwork within the 19th MDG and also from our peers across Team Little Rock.”

The 19th MDG staff received frequent positive comments regarding their attitudes.

“The inspectors were immediately impressed by the welcome provided by the leaders and members of Team Little Rock,” said Chief Williams. “During the course of the inspection they repeatedly commented on the positive attitudes and professionalism of the men and women of the 19 MDG in addition to the friendly atmosphere within the facility; this is not always apparent when folks undergo such an inspection.”

Base leaders are proud of the hard work and dedication the medical personnel have exhibited to the patients and toward the base mission.

“The medical staff at the 19th Medical Group have proven time and again their ability to care for the military personnel here,” said Col. Mike Minihan, 19th Airlift Wing commander. “It’s their hard work and dedication that help Airmen stay fit to fight for Combat Airlift.”

COMMENTARY>>Integrity first

By Chief Master Sgt. Gregg Kollbaum
314th Operations Group superintendent

“The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office,”

– Dwight D. Eisenhower

Many people tout the Air Force core value of integrity first. It’s truly a great place to start to develop a work ethic. Integrity is an essential quality to hold close as a leader and goes deeper than just telling the truth or being honest. The little blue book,
“United States Air Force Core Values”, ties integrity to the moral traits of courage, honesty, responsibility, accountability, justice, openness, self-respect and humility.

Courage – doing what is right when the cost is high.

Honesty – telling the truth.

Responsibility – acknowledging your duties and acts.

Accountability – taking credit or, most importantly, blame for your actions.

Justice – administering similar rewards and discipline in similar situations.

Openness – sending feedback in all directions and not being afraid to open your doors for outside inspection.

Self-respect – acting accordingly to not bring discredit to yourself or your organization.

Humility – a sobering feeling given by the awesome task of defending the Constitution.

In recent years, some of these traits have been called into question. For example, the Air Force Audit Agency pointed out numerous problems in the 2008 fitness study. During the study, 321 Airmen completed a fitness assessment from 13 bases and those results were analyzed. Thirty-five percent of those Airmen had a significant increase in abdominal circumference and weight within 60 days of the assessment. Those Airmen gained an average of three inches in abdominal circumference and a corresponding weight gain of nine pounds. To maximize consistency in testing, along with reducing the administrative burden on squadrons, the Air Force implemented the use of Fitness Assessment Cells manned by civilian employees to conduct biannual assessments. In my opinion, this effort has reduced the consistency issues and has been effective in eliminating the manning problem. This is great for the Air Force as a whole, but we still have the individual leadership challenge of getting our force into shape.

As a subordinate, supervisor and leader, we can’t afford for these lapses to happen. I’ve given an example of what happens at the corporate level when integrity is in question. On a personal level, integrity is the basis of relationships and a breakdown of this element can sever the bond. We must have a mutual trust that everyone will do their job properly. This means technicians will do the work correctly. They will follow guidance, complete work and document properly. Supervisors will set expectations, give feedback and rate fairly. Commanders will implement policy and reward and discipline on merit without bias.

We do have ongoing challenges in integrity at all levels. The Air Force continues to struggle with the performance report system, awards and decorations, drugs, alcohol, sexual assault and many others. These issues erode our core and create negative environments. I challenge everyone to take this as their own and remain true to the cause. As long as these issues are around we can do better.

TOP STORY > >Air show homecoming

By Ashley Mangin
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs volunteer

Four performers of the “Thunder over the Rock” air show are coming home to Arkansas.

This year Maj. Rick Goodman and Capt. Thomas Bowden, both with the United States Air Force Thunderbirds; Navy Lt. Robert Stimis, Super Hornet Tactical Demontration Team pilot and Capt. John Meyers, Air Combat Command A-10 East Coast Demonstration Team safety observer are all looking forward to returning to Little Rock Air Force Base not just as participants in the air show but as former Arkansas residents.

Major Goodman is the No. 5 lead solo pilot for the Thunderbirds.

“My father served in the Air Force for 23 years,” said Major Goodman. “I grew up surrounded by [the Air Force], traveling all over the country and all over the world. I loved the experiences and dynamic life the Air Force offered. It was an easy decision for me to serve my country in the Air Force I loved.”

“Flying for the Thunderbirds at the same time is a dream come true and a truly humbling experience,” he added. “It’s an absolute honor to travel around the country and the world to represent the nearly 700,000 men and women serving as Air Force Airmen. We strive to represent the pride, precision and professionalism those Airmen.”

Major Goodman is looking forward to showing pride for Arkansas and for the Air Force.

“I’m truly proud of my home state and my family therein,” Maj. Goodman said. “I look forward to showcasing the pride and professionalism of the Thunderbird Team and the entire Air Force at Thunder Over the Rock at Little Rock AFB.”

Captain Bowden is the No. 9 flight surgeon for the Thunderbirds.

“It is an immense honor to be able to represent all of our Airmen, 40,000 of which are currently deployed defending our freedoms,” said Captain Bowden. “It is fast-paced, but very enjoyable. We have a 130-member team, representing nearly 30 specialties in the Air Force. It becomes a family both at home and on the road. It’s incredible to see how that many people function as unit with such precision as well as the camaraderie felt. The public sees the end result of many hours of dedication and sweat that goes on behind the scenes.”

Captain Bowden is looking forward to coming back to Little Rock AFB as a Thunderbird.

“I’m very excited to be able to bring the Thunderbirds back to Arkansas,” Capt. Bowden continued. “It has been awhile since the Thunderbirds have been to The Rock. Having been stationed at Little Rock for two years, I am very aware of the hard work and dedication that Airmen from The Rock demonstrate on a daily basis, and am looking forward to seeing everyone again.”

Navy Lt. Robert Stimis flies with the Super Hornet Tactical Demonstration Team and is proud to be doing his job.

“Representing the men and women of the United States Navy by flying with the Super Hornet Tactical Demo Team has been one of the more rewarding experiences I’ve had since joining the Navy in 2002,” Lieutenant Stimis said. “It’s a great privilege to be able to showcase the abilities of our aircraft and the professionalism of our maintenance personnel in air shows around the country.

“When I saw the Thunder Over The Rock air show on our list of possible shows for the 2010 demo season, I obviously began lobbying the other guys on the team to choose that show,” Lieutenant Stimis continued. “My parents have already been to a few shows so far this year, but it will be a great experience to fly back home in front of other friends who have never seen me fly.”

Lieutenant Stimis is looking forward to seeing his family and a Razorbacks game.

“I’m really excited about getting back home during the fall and spending time with family and friends,” Lieutenant Stimis said.

“It would’ve been great if the Razorbacks were playing at War Memorial while I was home, but I’m excited to watch the Arkansas-Texas A&M game on TV somewhere. I’ve also been hearing a lot of great things about the Big Dam Bridge, which was not yet built before I left Little Rock in 1998. I’m hoping for some good weather for a nice long run along the river and over the bridge on Saturday before the show.”

Captain Meyers, with the A-10 Demo Team, is proud to be showcasing the capabilities of the A-10 to the public.

“It has been an honor and a great experience being involved in a program that allows the A-10 community to advertise our capabilities and help educate the public on what the A-10 brings to the fight,” said Captain Meyers. “I think most people have heard rumors about how the Hog interacts with ground troops on the battlefield, but may not have 100-percent accurate knowledge on it. The fact that we get to go out and showcase our capabilities to the public is not only great for us, but also a memorable and an educational experience for the crowd.”

Captain Meyers is looking forward to showing his family the work that he does for the military.

“Coming back to Arkansas will be an awesome experience,” said Captain Meyers. “It will allow me to show my family and friends a portion of my life that they have never really been able to be a part of until now. They’ll actually get to see what I do and hopefully have a new appreciation for all the time I’ve spent away from home.”

He wants everyone to better understand the importance of the A-10.

“The thing I’m most looking forward to is getting to show my family what I’ve gotten to do the past couple of years,” explained Capt. Meyers. “I think they already have an idea of how lucky I am to be doing what I’m doing, but none of them really have a complete grasp on it. Hopefully after seeing the full presentation, they’ll have a better picture of what I do every day and how important the A-10 is to the guys on the ground.”