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Welcome to Warren University

  • Published
  • By Col. Carl Jones
  • 90th Missile Wing vice commander
From as far back as I can remember, I have always been told to pay attention in school. Get good grades so you can move to the next grade, so you can then move to the next grade ... so you can have the opportunity to get into a good college and take more classes. At some point, one begins to wonder, "Is it all worth it?" The answer, I've found, is without a doubt ... yes.

Education is one of those things that once you have it, it is yours forever. It can help define you and it can redefine you. It's also important to note education doesn't necessarily have to happen in a classroom or online, it can (and does) happen every day here on base.

I'd like for us here to spend a little bit of time educating ourselves on the missions and the duties of the Airmen with whom we serve. Since coming back to F.E. Warren, I have had the opportunity to meet some fantastic Airmen who are all experts in their respective missions.

Our defenders on base and in the field are second to none when it comes to force protection and power projection; our missile combat crews are sharp and ready to execute on a moment's notice; and the maintainers and munitions professionals on this base are absolutely world-class. I have complete confidence that if there is a medical issue on this installation, Mighty Ninety medics can handle the task.

I've also been impressed with all of the support functions that take place here and underpin our success as a wing. I think if you take the time to learn how all of the groups fit together, you will gain an appreciation for the amount of work that goes into providing preeminent combat capability for the nation.

Educate yourselves on how this team comes together to do something such the recent open house during Fort D.A. Russell Days and learn how we coordinate complex activities such as convoy movements. The opportunities to educate yourself on how we, as a wing, accomplish our missions are endless.

The key to capitalizing on those educational opportunities is having a venue in which to learn, such as a classroom or website. We have that covered here as well. Start in your work centers. Ask your supervisors hard questions. If they can't answer them, then both of you should go find someone who can. Start a conversation about the many missions accomplished on base so you can learn what they all are and who makes them happen. You can have those same conversations in the Trail's End Club or in the golf course lounge. Find Airmen you don't know and ask them what they do. Talk to them about your job, your career path and the resources you need to be successful. After you explain the intricacies of how you do what you do, ask them to do the same.

I'd also encourage you to put yourself in a place where you have the chance to meet and have conversations with Airmen you don't see on a daily basis. Go to a Company Grade Officers' Council meeting or an Air Force Sergeants' Association function. The best way to learn is to seek out the experts and engage them in conversation. When you do, I think you'll discover a few important things. You may find the resources they need to do their jobs effectively come from you. You might realize they are the reason you can't get something done and you two can work out a solution at your level. Again, the opportunities to learn are endless.

This base, our home, is your campus. Take as many classes as you'd like and study hard. If you're a chaplain's assistant, feel free to major in maintenance. If you're a defender, get a degree in missile operations. The education you'll receive at F.E. Warren University is free and will be yours forever. It will serve you well during your time in the Mighty Ninety and over the course of your career.

I have had the opportunity to attend a lot of different courses during my time in the Air Force and I can honestly say the lessons I've learned from my fellow Airmen -- civilian, enlisted, and officer alike -- are the most beneficial and absolutely the most rewarding.