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Are you on our team?

  • Published
  • By Col. Tom Wilcox
  • 90th Security Forces Group commander
"It is better to have one person working with you, than three working for you."
Dwight D. Eisenhower

Teamwork is what makes the United States Military, our great Air Force, and the 90th Missile Wing the best in the world. Are you the best at what you do? Do you work with your squadron members and other members of the Wing to complete the mission, or do you just show up for work and do the minimum required until you go home every night? Do you go that extra mile to guarantee success or do you slack off and let somebody else carry the load? If you answer these questions honestly, they are reflective of your coworker's views of you and their ability to accept you as a member on the team.

Henry Ford nailed it when he said, "Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, and working together is success." Occasionally we have the luxury of time and can ease through these steps, but then there are other times where we have to skip straight to the teamwork phase due to mission necessities. Airmen are good at this because we share the same dedication, drive and team-oriented success.

When you joined our Air Force, you had time to come together and get to know your peers. Your goal to graduate and become a full Air Force member kept you together and motivated you to stay together, despite any potential dislikes you had for your fellow recruits. But somewhere during this training, you transitioned from an "individual" perspective to a "teamwork" approach and decided you would work together to ensure everyone graduated and entered the Air Force. This dynamic is similar to what we see in the permanent-change-of-station season every year.

If you moved into F.E. Warren this summer like me, you instantly became a member of a well-established team charged with safeguarding our nation 24/7/365, but did you realize the importance of your role on the team? Every Airman, Defense Department civilian, non-appropriated funds employee and contractor are part of the strategic deterrence and awesome combat capability the 90th MW provides the president of the United States around the clock.

Nations around the world look to you for leadership and count on you for their security. The Airman building up a missile in a launch facility to return another sortie to alert, the Airman securing the most powerful weapon in the world, or the Airman sitting alert are all integral members of the wing team and vital to our nation's national security. But the team doesn't stop there; the civilian child care provider in the child development center or the chef at the dining facility working with Airmen to keep the 90th MW mission ready -- everyone is important. When you break it down, we couldn't do it without teamwork.

Are you proud, willing, and ready to be on such a team every day? I am! Since I arrived here, I've seen some awesome displays of teamwork. Every time we move a resource to the field, it's an artwork of communication and cooperation by every unit on the base. Implementing tighter security measures last week required team work across the installation to ensure our safety. Maintaining a 99 percent alert rate is reflective of Airmen waking up in the morning and saying, "I'm going to give my very best today."

Sometimes, though, we have to remind ourselves that we are on a team. It's easy to fall into that "me" mindset where we start to worry about our careers, our resources, or our mission over somebody else's. This type of attitude isn't good for the team. When I was a captain, I was in a unit where the squadron commander's favorite saying was "no." He said no to everything, from the small insignificant assist to the large mission impacting requests. When you peeled back all the requests, none were illegal or immoral, and most were mission-impacting actions to other base organizations. Now what do you think happened to our unit? We were alienated by every other unit on the base because we weren't team players. The same thing can happen to a particular shop within a unit or to an individual on a specific flight.

When an individual slacks off and doesn't pull his or her own weight, the remaining flight members have to pick up the load. If you take this lackadaisical approach for any amount of time, you become alienated from your peers and your team and it's hard to get back in. We all know the person who manipulated the Personnel Reliability Program suspension in their favor, or the person who failed to get cleared from a profile early, even though they were healthy. That's not teamwork, it's a lack of integrity, and it hurts our mission. So think about it if you ever find yourself in that position, I'm sure your peers will.

The military is the best example of teamwork in the United States. What other institution can take citizens from all walks of life and mold them into the best fighting force the world has ever seen? That's what we have here at the 90th Missile Wing and that's what makes us great. But it's not the individual alone that makes us great, it's the synergy of our individual efforts, dedication, and willingness to work together as a team that makes us the best missile wing in the United States Air Force. Thanks for what you do every day, I'm glad to be on your team!