Vance Air Force Base is at war

  • Published
  • By Col Fred Cheney
  • 71st Mission Support Group
I invite everyone to visit the Air Force web site to read the latest "Secretary's Vector," written by our Secretary of the Air Force, Dr. James Roche.
In this vector, titled "America's Airmen Fighting the War on Terrorism," Secretary Roche makes three key points that he wants us all to keep in mind: 1. We are at war; 2. We are evolving the Air Force into this new era; and 3. Respect and care for every Airman.
I won't try to restate the strategic-level issues Dr. Roche discusses so well in his vector, but I will try to explain how the points he makes relate to the members of Team Vance.
We are at war ... and we need to never forget it. The Global War on Terrorism must be won. It's as big a threat to our freedom and national security as the two World Wars and the Cold War. Every aspect of our national power ... military, economic, industrial, informational and diplomatic is focused on winning. Our comrades are fighting every day in support of victory.
How does this impact us here? We are a key part of that global effort in three main ways. First, by producing the world's best Air Force, Navy, Marine and allied pilots, we ensure the forces of freedom will enjoy air dominance in the future. Second, we support the war through our Air Expeditionary Force deployments. Many of our Team Vance Airmen have deployed ... and will deploy ... into some of the most dangerous spots on the globe. We owe our deploying members the best training and equipment ... and support for their families ... as they head into harm's way. Third, we support the war by doing our jobs the best that we possibly can. In these days of lean manning, it's vital that every single member of Team Vance continues to perform superbly.
We are evolving the Air Force to this new era ... and Vance Air Force Base leads the way in many areas. Maj Gen Dave Deptula describes three key areas of defense transformation: 1. technology; 2. concepts of operations; and 3. organizations. Team Vance is a leader in all three areas.
We are seeing an explosion of new technology at Vance AFB. Here are just two examples. We just completed our transition to the "glass cockpit" T-38C and the T-6 is just over the horizon. Our security forces will soon add high-tech gear such as a base-wide surveillance system, radar to detect base intrusions and thermal imagery gear to see intruders in the dark.
Team Vance is leading the way in transformational concepts of operations with our Joint Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training program. Only a few years ago, it would have been unthinkable to conduct Joint and Total Force pilot training for the Air Force, Navy, Marines and allies all at one Air Force base. Today we do an outstanding job every day without always taking the time to realize just how transformational our operation is.
Our organizational concept here is equally transformational in much the same way. We mold Air Force (active duty, reserve and civilian) Airmen with Navy, Marine, Army National Guard, allies and contractors into a cohesive team that's impossible to beat. As the Air Force (and our joint team) evolves in the 21st Century ... Team Vance leads the way!!
Respect and care for every Airman ... this is vital to keeping Team Vance a true team. No matter what rank we may wear ... we are all equally important and vital to the mission. As Secretary Roche reminds us, "We cannot have any Airman afraid of any other Airman." There is no room for discrimination, sexual assault or harassment of any kind. It's not enough to just avoid doing bad things ... we need to look out for our fellow Airmen as a "good wingman." We need to offer help when we see signs of suicide or if we see our fellow Airman trying to get behind the wheel of a car when they've had too much to drink. We need to report criminal activity on our base when we see it. It's our job and obligation to take care of each other!
The title of this article is "Vance is at war." If you keep that idea in mind, I think everything else I've discussed will flow naturally. If you find yourself dragging home from work totally exhausted, only to hear that your family is tired of never seeing you ... just keep in mind, we are at war. Always remember that your role as part of Team Vance, whether deployed or at home, is a key element of winning that war. Do your best ... we need you ... Vance is at war!