Total Force approach prepares Vance for UCI

  • Published
  • By Maj. Paul A. Johnston
  • 71st Force Support Squadron commander
With about a month left until our first Unit Compliance Inspection in five years, it has become clear to me we are not only going to be ready, but will unveil a benchmark operation. 

Vance is made of diverse teams composed of a unique mix of Department of Defense and civilian "blue suiters," along with the technical expertise and leadership of our contract partners -- a Total Force team. 

I have seen how teamwork has improved preparations and produced excellent mobility and emergency management skills for our ultimate success. As the Air Force looks to the larger Total Force team to bring unique synergies for the future, our team has already built a sound footing. My confidence is grounded in the flexibility and focus of Team Vance. 

Our contractors provide flexibility and focus for training scenarios, field training and emergency response far beyond the base's blue-suit military resources. Their "all in" assistance has enabled monthly training blocks and robust Exercise Evaluation Team planning. 

Our contractors have refined processes to enhance flexibility and focus. Their contribution is not just as a "back shop," but as decisive and focused leaders. As an example, our improved Emergency Management leveraged the experience and resourcefulness of our contractors with new functions, locations, information technology infrastructure and command and control features all brought to bear in six months. 

Lastly, the cooperative spirit between quality assurance and quality control in the Air Force's largest umbrella contract was, and continues to be, a key factor in increasing aircraft availability. The Vance team has a strong arm of support in its contracted workforce and benefits daily from its flexibility and focus. 

Our blue suiters have also plowed new ground in mission readiness and execution. The flying training squadrons have an increased student load on the front end and back end of the training process. 

Flexibility is the watch word in current training operations. New student pilots now come to Vance as their initial duty assignment to save permanent-change-of-station dollars and expedite the start of training. 

Pilots selected for Unmanned Aircraft Systems attend further training and frequently deploy while their families remain at Vance. These warfighters have dramatically increased the operational impact of this wing with their flexibility. 

Meanwhile, the velocity of our pilot training challenges students and staff alike. Training operations are focused on producing future Air Force pilots. Vance instructor pilots train the next generation of American aviators for war, while sending many of their own as instructors in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Security Forces are also surging their training, providing a greater number of battlefield Airmen to the fight. 

The other mission-support squadrons provide the flexibility of small team expertise and focused operations: one and two-deep offices across a transformed and multi-disciplinary workforce. 

Logistics Readiness coordinated housing for the new student pilots, tuned a "mobility machine" to sustain contingency operations and set new standards in energy conservation. 

Force Support centralized and solidified people programs, meeting the needs of Airmen and commanders at every mission and career milestone. 

Our medical professionals opened a renovated clinic while continuing to provide best in Air Force support as the Air Force Medical Service top performing medical treatment facility. Furthermore, these first responders boosted team performance and mission execution in mobility and emergency management exercises. 

The flexibility and focus of our blue-suit operators, health professionals, and support units has exemplified readiness. The time to be tested is near. Our Total Force team has experienced a busy six months and is ready for the UCI. 

This assessment will demonstrate excellence for the wing, the Air Force and the nation. Current Air Force transformation still has wartime readiness as its bottom line. Vance's Total Force team is flexible and focused, providing pilots and combat support teams to the fight. 

Every Vance Airman can take pride in performance and teamwork in action -- we enable the Air Force to fly, fight, and win!