Looking Forward

  • Published
  • By Col. Robert Ator
  • 189th Airlift Wing
As we approach the end of fiscal 2016, we now prepare for fiscal 2017. To set the stage of where we are headed, we need to reflect at all that 2016 was to this wing. Looking at our wing priorities of Mission, Airmen, and Vision, the 189th has looked each challenge in the eye and conquered each with the Wing culture of "We Lead."

Mission - The primary mission of being the C-130H formal training unit has given us personnel challenges in our instructor corps, half a runway and bad weather, causing us to be behind our timeline. The wing surged to fix the delayed students, only to be given a new crop of aircraft that had not been maintained to our standard. Through the collective efforts of every member of this wing, we are back on track. This is no small feat and I am immensely proud of the wing for how we all came together to get the mission

We continued to send wing members into harm's way to support national objectives, executing more than 120 missions in support of the Governor with our rapid augmentation teams. Most recently, we stood up a new concept in cyber training that will take on its first students in a couple of weeks. We have done this a year early and at less than 50 percent of projected cost. With less than two and a half months from Sight Activation Task Force to Initial Operational Capability is unheard of and we did it!

Airmen - The year showed a further commitment to deliberate force development and for the first time included our officer corps. The wing still leads our Air Force with our other base partners in proactive, positive influence in our professional and personal lives with the Green Dot program. Taking care of each other is our wing culture and this commitment makes the Green Dot program transition simple and logical. Through our Chief's Council and your senior leaders, we have adjusted our drills and weekly meeting schedules to give you more time to focus on the mission and each other.

Vision - We have to focus on where we are going and the vision is spelled out in our vision statement; "The center of C-130H Combat Airlift."; building nimble Airmen with a focus on the future. Simply "We Lead!" This year has been full to set the stage of this
vision. We have added the cyber training mission to our mission sets. This is an exciting and enduring mission for the wing that will put us on the front line to protect our Nation and the state of Arkansas. We have very special talent here in the wing, a collection of the best C-130 operators and maintainers in the world. In keeping with that elevated capability, the 189th is committed to being the center of all things "Herk."
We have been supporting the test of new capabilities of the C-130H, the propulsion of
the C-130H and the training of C-130H maintainers. We are also building a consensus of what the C-130 FTU needs to be so that the enterprise is nimble in the face of changes in a combat airlift fleet full of modernization programs.

Moving forward, the close in rock is the upcoming Air Education and Training Command/Inspector General Capstone event. You have already seen the request to
participate in surveys and to forward early deliverables to the AETC/IG. We are in the season. While we have not been inspected under the new Air Force Information Service system, we have adopted the new concept. You all understand that we have been under inspection consistently for quite some time. Now is our chance to explain some the challenges we have overcome and describe some that we still struggle with, but mostly to brag and show off who and what we are to our state and Nation. We will continue to empower each of you to bring your ideas forward and use continuous process improvement on ways to reduce the stressors of the mission.

Each of you have made quite a list of successes and I know that fiscal 17 will be another that we will all look back on as a time of our greatest success and the pride that comes from doing this as a part of one team; after all, "We Lead!"