Vance accomplishes mission through teamwork

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. David Morrissey
  • 32nd Flying Training Squadron commander
Although embracing our constantly changing environment and being an agent for productive change is something I mentioned in my last commentary, this week I'd like to talk about something that hasn't changed -- the mission of the 71st Flying Training Wing. 

Our mission involves training pilots for our Air Force and Naval services. We have the honor and privilege of being only one of four bases in our country executing undergraduate-level pilot training. Additionally, we are the only base authorized to award both Air Force and Navy wings, which makes us the only joint pilot training base -- what an honor our country has bestowed on us! We even added a new and critical flying mission here -- introduction to fighter fundamentals or IFF.

I want to talk about the mission because, quite frankly, when I go to events that celebrate the success of our mission, I rarely see anyone outside the operations group attending. Graduation and assignment nights are great opportunities to see our mission success. I know we are all very busy in our different areas supporting the mission, but come see the fruits of your labor. Fifteen times a year, we graduate the finest aviators in the world. Nobody trains pilots better that the U.S. Air Force, and no one does it better than the 71st Flying Training Wing. So why are we here again?

The mission of the Air Force is to "deliver sovereign options for the defense of the United States of America and its global interests -- to fly and fight in Air, Space and Cyberspace." The 71st FTW mission directly supports the Air Force mission by training "world-class pilots for our Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and our allies and to prepare Air Expeditionary Force-warriors to deploy in support of our combatant commanders." The sovereign options we delivered the combatant commanders in fiscal 2007 were in the form of 284 pilots -- enough pilots to fill five operational combat-ready squadrons.

I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge our support of the AEF. At any one time, we have more than 50 people deployed from this base with security forces, medical group and logistics readiness pulling a lion's share of the taskings. Unfortunately this makes those left in the work centers even busier with less time to smell the roses.

Supervisors, I implore you, on your next "training day" send your folks to a graduation ceremony at 10 a.m. every three weeks in the base theater. If you have outstanding troops or award winners, nominate them for an incentive flight through the 71st Operations Support Squadron wing scheduling office or just coordinate for a tour of the airplane.

We can not accomplish our mission without the steadfast support of everyone on this base. That support is best when everyone understands and appreciates what the mission is.