Excellence in all we do
By Colonel Steven Butow, 129th Rescue Wing Commander
/ Published January 26, 2012
MOFFETT FEDERAL AIRFIELD, Calif. -- The pursuit of excellence defines us as Airmen. It is an Air Force core value, and as such, cannot be compromised. When Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen or others go into harm's way to serve and defend the nation, they do so with the knowledge that we will respond and rescue them if they become isolated, injured or missing. This unwavering trust is forged from a legacy of excellence that characterizes the warrior ethos of the 129th Rescue Wing.
From a tactical perspective, excellence enables a decisive advantage when confronted with adversity. Our mission is inherently dangerous and the expectation of our success is the norm. General Gary North once told me, "CSAR must be perfect. We cannot afford the luxury of a second chance. People die when we are unsuccessful." The definition of risk and reward cannot be stated more clearly than that. Our senior leaders, comrades in arms and the American public have placed enormous trust in us. We must not falter; but when we do, the 129th must recover with even greater tenacity and vigor.
I am proud to serve with the finest Airmen that the 129th Rescue Wing has ever seen. The past ten years of selfless service and distinctive accomplishment more than justify this claim. Together, we must look toward the future, adapt to change and enable the next generation of 129th Airmen to accomplish much more. We must remain mission ready - always. This is achieved through team work, realistic training, innovation and knowledge.
Our success as a wing and as an integral part of the Total Force is created from the personal commitment each of us makes to pursue excellence, set the example and facilitate others' ability to follow. I look to our two most important ranks, captains and technical sergeants, to be the foundation of this leadership effort and set the example for our tactical forces in the air, on the flightline and in the back shops and work centers.
We are entering a post-war era with great uncertainty and economic challenge. In such an environment, excellence will define unit relevance and longevity in the wake of force structure and mission realignments. The 129th Rescue Wing is a strategic asset to the Silicon Valley, the San Francisco Bay Area, the state of California and the nation. Our relevance is hinged upon a sustained demonstration of excellence; 'just good enough' will not do. The pursuit of anything less equates to an acceptance of certain risk. The margin between success and failure is a fine red line. The wing cannot survive on the razor's edge of just meeting standards. We are in the business of saving lives under the most adverse conditions. The defenders of this nation and others who count on us expect and deserve much more.
I challenge each of you to remain vigilant and identify means of improving wing capabilities, processes or unit culture. Sustained excellence requires continuous assessment, critical thinking and commitment to break from the status quo when required for success. The wing looks to your leadership to keep us relevant now and into the future.