Investing in Airman development produces big dividends

MOFFETT FEDERAL AIRFIELD, Calif. -- As I watched the 2010 California Air Guard Outstanding Airmen of the Year banquet earlier last month, I was incredibly impressed by the quality Airmen who were recognized that night. From grades E-3 up to E-8, these folks excelled in the workplace as well as in their communities. They are the epitome of the Citizen Airman and what we should all strive to be.

But what makes them so successful? We can't know for sure, but it's safe to assume that leadership development and teamwork had something to do with it. Leadership development consists of a collaborative and collective effort of people coming together to benefit the common good. People aren't necessarily born to be excellent leaders. Instead leadership is instilled and developed with the help of others throughout a career.

At the 129th Rescue Wing it's essential to the success of our mission that we make certain our Airmen are motivated to develop and maximize their potential. This includes enabling Airman to further pursue their military education, ensuring that they will be ready when tapped on the shoulder to assume positions of greater responsibility.

Similarly, we must promote our Airmen into positions where they are best able to utilize their leadership training and development. They should also work outside the boundaries of their unit and volunteer with local community groups as well as be active members of professional military organizations.

Every quarter at the newcomers briefing I meet Airmen who are new to the 129th or even the military. It never ceases to amaze me the high-caliber of people who are signing up to join the world's finest Air Force. They are educated, professional, and highly experienced individuals. We must strive to retain these quality Airmen. Ask yourself, do you lead passionately to inspire and empower Airmen to pursue the values of integrity, service and excellence? Never forget that we all lead by example.

Our core value, "Excellence in all we do," provides a good segue to talk about the upcoming Unit Compliance Inspection. On Thursday, Feb. 4, approximately 63 Air Combat Command inspectors will arrive here at Moffett. They won't be snooping around to nitpick what we're doing wrong, instead they are here to validate the way we do business. Be proud of your work and show them why we're the preeminent rescue team in the military.

The 129th reaped the benefits of teamwork by being awarded with the best of the best awards, such as the NGAUS Spaatz Trophy and Air Force Outstanding Unit Award. Also, members of our team continue to receive national, state, and local recognition for their significant contributions. Our accomplishments and cohesive efforts not only save lives, but also prove that together we are the best. Blow the socks off these inspectors...this is our time to really shine.