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A culture of excellence

F. E. Warren AFB, Wyo. -- Every other week I attend the "Right Start" briefing where I have the privilege of welcoming a new group of Airmen to the best missile base in the command. I can say that we're the best not because of personal opinion, but because we have the hardware to prove it. The Omaha Trophy and the Colonel Lee R. Williams Award state we are the absolute best in class ... no one does missiles better than we do.

Over the past several months, I've had a number of folks ask me how we got to be the best, and that's an easy question ... through a lot of hard work and dedication. The tougher question, however, is how do we stay on top? Trust me, there are two other missile wings out there that want nothing more than to lay claim to our hardware and say they're the best. But we're not going to let that happen because we have a culture of excellence, and we work hard to renew that culture on a daily basis. 

There's an old SAC adage that states, PRIDE - Professional Results in Daily Efforts. When the ICBM mission was young, professionalism meant knowing your job well, doing your job right, and ensuring those around you did the same. Not just most days, but every day. It was no kidding a daily endeavor. There was a tremendous sense of pride and yes, a culture of excellence, that kept everyone focused on the mission even though checklists, processes, and procedures were not yet fully developed or refined. 

Now that we've been doing missiles for 40 plus years, we have the benefit of decades of experience and rock solid technical data and procedures. But those processes and procedures can't begin to replace the difference Airmen can make when they are fired up about who they are, excel at what they do and expect the same from everyone around them. That, in my mind, defines a culture of excellence and it's just as important today as it has ever been. 

We've had a lot to be proud of this year and I'm convinced that we have racked up enough accolades to pull down top honors for 2006, just as we did last year. It's not a done deal though, and that's where our culture of excellence continues to make a difference. Our culture demands that we do our best, even when no one is looking, and that we will hold each other accountable to do what is right, despite pressures to do otherwise. 

This past week, we paused to reflect on our responsibilities to follow the rules and enforce them no matter what we are doing. The message was clear: when it comes to safety and security, we have to bat a 1000. We have to be perfect. Our mission demands it and our nation expects it. Cutting corners, bending or breaking the rules, inattention to details, or rushing to get things done are not in our culture. That is not who we are--we're far better than that, and collectively, we can take great pride in what we do and have confidence that our culture of excellence will continue to keep standards high. 

We're on top and we're out in front. Our base continues to be blessed with professionals who are doing their utmost to make a difference day in and day out. We have the most proficient missile crews, the best maintainers, the most vigilant security forces, the most dedicated medical experts, and the highest skilled mission support members. We are second to none, and whether you've been here two weeks or two decades, you are part of the culture that achieves excellence each and every day.