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Mighty Ninety knocks one out of the park

  • Published
  • By Col. Greg Tims
  • 90th Missile Wing commander
Wow, what a Nuclear Surety Inspection. The correct tone was set right out of the gates by Capt. Paul Hendrickson, 320th Missile Squadron; Mike Woods, 90th Missile Wing Safety; Special Agent Chris Szymanski, Air Force Office of Special Investigations; and Capt. Eric Miller, 90th Operations Support Squadron. We showed them on all fronts what makes us so special. It was overheard after a few of the Inspector General members had eaten Veronica Vye's gumbo, that her gumbo was the best they ever had and wanted the recipe. Now remember, these IG members are from Louisiana -- way to go Ronnie.

The IG kept coming and you kept knocking them out of the park. They came at us from all angles on the Personnel Reliability Program -- both an administrative and a medical perspective: crack, another home run. They set up two different "attack" scenarios: up and out of here! They scrubbed records, watched you in your shops, observed you up close and in person: it's going, it's going, it's gone. Every single thing you did -- and I mean every single action, movement, and procedure was scrutinized and you nailed it each and every time.

Col. Tom Bussiere, AFGSC/IG, Col. Tom Summers, AFGSC/IGI, and their team only had praise to pass on. What impressed them most was your confidence and professional demeanor. They were out in the shops and offices. They admired your enthusiasm when they asked you about your jobs. They smiled as you performed under pressure and applauded how you demonstrated your expertise.

For those of you who are counting, add another notch to your branding iron. This is the twelfth inspection in two years. This ranges from Health Services Inspections, communications security, Safety, Contingency Communications Elements, NSIs, Operational Readiness Inspections, Nuclear Operational Readiness Inspections -- and the list goes on and on. While other wings have stumbled and fell along the way, you passed each and every one of them. The legacy this team has built these past two years is a legacy I have never seen before. And believe me, I've seen some pretty good teams. Your hardnosed approach has allowed us to regain our blue-collar swagger. The confidence at this unit is the highest I have seen in my 25-plus years.

I have heard it said before that Michael Jordan contributes his success to his ability to focus. I heard a reporter state that when he talked to him, Jordan said he never worried about the shot he just took or the one he might have to take later in the game. The most important shot was the one he was taking at that moment in time. We set a course two years ago with the same focus. It's about daily excellence. The most important dispatch is the one you were going on, the most important record was the one you were looking at, the most important person was the Airman standing across the desk from you that needed your help. What we did yesterday and what we are going to do tomorrow was not important. But what you are doing at this exact moment in time is how we are going to reinvigorate and strengthen the nuclear enterprise.

We set a course two months ago that was pretty aggressive. We did a code change, then a one week remount; a second code change, then another one week remount; then the final code change, another one week remount; then the NSI. Plus several wing-level exercises to pile on. You can't pull something like this off unless you have a committed and strong team. Well done Mighty Ninety, cherish this moment.

More good news continues to pour in--the Medical Group's Family Health Clinic was recognized by the Air Force as the most improved customer service training for the first quarter of fiscal year 2011. We were the only unit in AFGSC to receive this recognition. Way to go Col. Francesca Vasta-Falldorf, 90th Medical Group commander, and your entire Med Group team -- another example of being "a cut above the rest!"

I'd like to share some thoughts on one last book with you. In James Kouzes and Barry Posner's book, "A Leader's Legacy," they write, "When we move on, people do not remember us for what we do for ourselves. They remember us for what we do for them. They are inheritors of our work. One of the great joys and grave responsibilities of leaders is making sure that those in their care live lives not only of success, but also of significance."

I think the legacy we will have left is that we trained to solve problems and ran toward danger, not from it. In this day and age of wishy-washy beliefs and actions focusing on self, I am grateful to be a part of a team that never backed down from the institutional values. I really like being around the men and women of the Mighty Ninety because they have character and toughness. Kouzes and Posner write, "People are like tea bags. You never know how strong they'll be until you put them into hot water." Whether it be on an overseas deployment or deploying in place as what we do here daily, we never once ducked or cowardly backed down.

I also like this quote they provide in their book, "Leaders must decide on what matters in life, before they can live a life that matters."

A lot of us are in the twilight of our careers, while others have a lot more light in front of them than behind them. I encourage you all to take a moment and reflect back on your careers. What went well? What didn't go so well? What can you teach others that will help them? Leadership is about being able to make a difference. And what a difference we have made here in the 90th MW that directly impacted this state, Global Strike Command, our AF and our nation.

Go Forth and Conquer!