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Daily excellence and mission success — one good decision at a time

  • Published
  • By Col. Scott Fox
  • 90th Missile Wing vice commander
From my first day on the job as the vice commander of the Mighty Ninety, I knew I was walking (or maybe I was being thrown!) into an exceptional organization made up of extraordinary people. From that first night, more than 18 months ago, at the wing holiday party to the day I spent recently with our new wing commander roving the missile complex, my initial impression was reinforced over and over again. Everywhere I went, I found dedicated professionals doing their absolute best - not just because their supervisor or commander told them to, but because it was the right thing to do.

Providing nuclear deterrence 24/7, 365 days a year is not easy. Operating, maintaining, supporting and securing one third of the nation's ICBM alert force - with the most powerful weapons the world has known - is not easy. Likewise, preparing and deploying hundreds of Airmen in support of overseas contingency operations is also not an easy set of tasks, especially when many of those tasked are also needed here at home in support of the in-place nuclear mission and the Commander of United States Strategic Command.

As I've told hundreds of first-term airmen, though, if this job was easy, everyone would do it ... and they don't! Here at F. E. Warren, the proud members of the Mighty Ninety make what they do every single day of the year look amazingly simple and prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they won't accept anything less than daily excellence and mission success.

What is the key to that success you might ask? In my opinion it all boils down to one simple, yet critical, thing - making good decisions.

The decisions that drive the wing's success are not, however, decisions made by the wing and group commanders. They aren't the sole purview of colonels or chief master sergeants. Airmen with the title "commander" do not corner the market on good decisions, nor are they all made by officers, senior noncommissioned officers or NCOs. Those decisions, which drive daily excellence in a mission that ensures the bedrock security of our nation and has international impact, are made at every level.

The brand new sentry at Gate 1 who stops a vehicle because something just doesn't seem right makes a decision that enables mission success. It doesn't matter that he's only got two stripes and has been on flight just two or three days. The chief master sergeant who takes the time during his retirement speech to offer that one nugget of mentoring to all Airmen present - because he couldn't leave without making that contribution - enables mission success. The civilian who tirelessly works in the same office she has for countless years, watching those of us in uniform come and go but always guaranteeing that the critical tasks are always covered as the enduring continuity, enables mission success.

The senior airman who carefully explains the requirements for guarding a site with an inoperative security system to a brand new security escort team member before they post to one of the isolated launch facilities, and emphasizes that they do it right every time whether someone is watching or not, enables mission success. The young deputy combat crew commander, on alert at the squadron command post, who expertly leads her unit in response to operational status never before seen in the history of the weapon system, enables mission success.

In each of those cases, and countless others, true professionals faced with crucial decisions made a difference. Sometimes that difference is in the short term and sometimes it has lasting, long term effects. That's what daily excellence is all about.
Thank you to all who serve, military and civilian alike, and to those who support that service - spouses, families, friends and community partners.

It's been a privilege to be a small part of the amazing team that is the 90th Missile Wing. I will continue to sleep well every night knowing that the Mighty Ninety will continue to provide combat capability across the spectrum of conflict, whether that combat capability is manifest in the form of Battlefield Airmen deployed in harm's way supporting overseas contingency operations or on the high plains of Wyoming, Nebraska and Colorado keeping the greater peace. I'm confident that any potential adversary who looks at the Mighty Ninety will come to the same conclusion they have for more than four decades - not today.