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PME Vital to Airmen, Leadership

  • Published
  • By Col. Timothy Zadalis
  • 43rd Airlift Wing commander
When I talk about leadership, one thing I usually emphasize is a big factor in how good you are is determined by your experiences. 

Whether it is something you've done, or a challenge you faced, people often don't think that an education is a vital part of that experience that will prepare you for leadership.
Professional military education is the perfect example because it's education that specifically targets leadership in the Air Force. Failing to complete PME and failing to take it seriously in my book means you're failing to take your leadership responsibility seriously. 

Whether it is Airman Leadership School, the NCO and Senior NCO Academies, Squadron Officer School, Air Command and Staff College or Air War College, we can gain invaluable knowledge about how to face situations by studying those who have gone before us. It's important to also stress the need for our civilian Total Force partners to acquire PME as well. 

Not only do you learn vital Air Force history, but concepts of military operations that help us communicate the big picture. We all must know how we contribute to the Air Force mission, which contributes to our identity as Airmen. 

We will always be the world's greatest Air Force because of men and women like you. We must train as we fight, and equip ourselves with the tools necessary to overcome whatever our enemies throw at us. 

Gen. Jimmy Doolittle once said, "If we should have to fight, we should be prepared to do so from the neck up instead of from the neck down." 

Prior to the bombing of Pearl Harbor, no one had ever thought to combine air and sea power. Gen. Doolittle did just that when he brought in Navy pilots to train his B-25 crews to launch the Tokyo bombing from aircraft carriers. 

Gen. Doolittle was a student of aviation and heavily influenced by the Wright Brothers. He saw the need for Interservice training in the 1920s, and even learned to fly Navy aircraft. His education, training and foresight led to him commanding one of the most significant events in world history. 

No doubt one of you will make history and add to the storied legacy of the U.S. Air Force. Just ask Capt. Carol Mitchell, 2nd Airlift Squadron, and her history-making crew who became the first all-female C-130 crew to fly a combat mission. We can learn from our history and make a difference in the future. 

It is also important to carefully review your records. The best advocate for your career is you. We've all heard it is your promotion record that is promoted. It is incredibly important for you to take ownership of your record. Because when you delegate that responsibility to somebody else, they will miss things that you would not. 

It is incumbent upon each and every one of us to take the time to go through our records and make sure everything has been updated properly. So, when you go before a promotion board or selection committee for an award, everything is there that tells the true story of the effort you put into your career. 

It's not about being a careerist, it's about making sure that others understand what you have done. You may be the right person for the job, but if that piece of paper doesn't reflect that you won't be selected. 

My last record review, I found two errors that were easily corrected. Regardless of rank, we have to take a personal interest and review our records. 

I would like to congratulate our stellar Phoenix Horizon selectees. Phoenix Reach is a program within Horizon that identifies outstanding pilots for crossflow into other aircraft. Our selectees include Capt. Tom Staley, 41st Airlift Squadron, KC-10, Capt. Jannell MacAulay, 43rd Airlift Wing Commander's Action Group, KC-10, Capt. George Crowley, 41st Airlift Squadron, KC-135 and Capt. Christian Garber, 43rd Operations Support Squadron, who was selected as an alternate to fly any of AMC's aircraft. Our Phoenix Mobility Expeditionary Mobility Task Force internship) alternates are Capt. Jennifer Kuhns, 43rd Airlift Wing Protocol, and Capt. Charlotte Knight, 43rd Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron. 

I would like to thank the 43rd Services Squadron for making sure Comics on Duty was a tremendous success and a hilarious event. They actually had to turn people away. This was one of the many events Services puts together for all of us. 

Keep Safe and Be There for Your Wingman.