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Success In 2009 Starts With Preparation

  • Published
  • By Col. John McDonald
  • 43rd Airlift Wing Commander
Whether you realize it or not, all of us are continually making resolutions, they just get more press following the New Year. We plan to better ourselves mentally, physically or spiritually, or to better our situation in some way. For most of us, it has nothing to do with the turning of the calendar; it's simply a desire to always to the best we can at whatever has our attention at the time.

As Airmen continually striving for Excellence in All We Do, we set resolutions too. So I used the beginning of the year as an opportunity to establish a new resolution, a resolution I believe is applicable across the base, and I hope you'll join me. I want us all to take advantage of the New Year, by taking a step back and project forward. Project forward through 2009 to best prepare yourself for coming events.

By "project," I mean to say, based on the nature of our mission and profession we chose to belong, there are certain things we know, or anticipate, are going to happen and impact us. For instance, at any given time, 13 to 15 percent of our Wing is deployed in support of the GWOT, and this rate has been steady for several years. You should definitely have an idea when you are vulnerable to be tasked.

So how do you "project" out to make your deployment as easy as possible, on not only yourself, but all those around you, including your family and fellow Airmen? Begin now to prepare.

Many of us are up to date on our deployment requirements thanks to our in-depth, year-long push for the 2008 Operational Readiness Inspection. We've got the right equipment, it's been inventoried in our squadron and we know how to survive and operate in a combat situation.

But if you don't stay on top of your "personal" mobility requirements--emergency contact information, life insurance, will, power of attorney, family support plan etc, you'll offset all your successful mission preparation with a failure to prepare personally.

You shouldn't wait until you are tasked with a deployment to complete many of these things. In fact, they should be more of an annual task for you to re-evaluate and complete. All it takes is a trip to the legal office (will or power of attorney), a stop at the Airman and Family Readiness Center or logging on to the Air Force Portal, and you are good to go! If you've never done this before, I'm certain someone in your work center is more than capable and willing to help you out. Remember I AM; this is another example where individual actions matter. Responsibility, accountability or making a positive difference in proper preparations for a deployment guarantees success on so many levels.

Working at Pope everyday and seeing our Army brothers come and go from our Green Ramp makes it easy to forget that we deploy at a very rapid pace as well; just on a different scale. We normally don't leave with a thousand of our closest friends, instead we leave individually or a maybe a team of 19 like the one that recently left from the 43rd Civil Engineer Squadron

Deploying in smaller numbers, it can sometimes feel like our co-workers have just "stepped out," but don't forget about them or their families. If you can make the farewell special by seeing them off at the airport or behind building 560, do so. Send them an email, keep in touch with their family members left behind, see how they are doing and if they could use any help. You don't have to be a supervisor to make a positive difference; and your commitment to make a positive difference will have an exponential impact over time, again Individual Actions Matter!

Lastly, I want everyone to realize some of the unseen effects that come with the beginnings of a new year, or sometimes referred to as the post-holiday "blues." Some of you may be confronting these feeling now, understand it's perfectly natural, and no matter what your feeling, we have folks on Team Pope dedicated and ready to help. I need everyone to turn to page 9 of today's paper and read an article from the great team of caregivers at mental health on how to handle different aspects of post-holiday stress. Their entire purpose is to make us all feel better and provide us the necessary tools to cope with any situation. 

Finally, I certainly hope I'll see many of you at Super Bowl BINGO tomorrow, it's not too late to get your tickets, or even volunteer to help out - it is going to be a blast! Thanks for all you do, and the commitment and sacrifices of your families, and remember as a Wingman, Leader and Warrior, it is critical to appreciate your Individual Actions Matter and continue to pledge with me out loud! I AM responsible, I AM accountable, and I AM going to make a positive difference! Have a Popetastic week and be an impact Airman with Wow!!