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Scott AFB is always “open for business”

  • Published
  • By Col. Michael Hornitschek
  • 375th Air Mobility Wing Commander
After having avoided a government shutdown and being declared "open for business," I'd like to take a few moments to thank the many people who worked hard to prepare us for the effects that a partial government shutdown would have brought to Scott AFB.

Although many shared concerns and frustrations during this timeframe, there were many more agencies and individuals who were stepping up to promptly assist anyone in need. From private businesses to organizations we are currently fund-raising for through the Air Force Assistance Fund, there were many avenues our military members could take to help alleviate any issues associated with a break in pay.

While we would not have completely shut down, we were prepared to deal with the effects such a move would make upon our daily operations. It was heartwarming to see the many supervisors and co-workers ensuring that our young Airmen and their families were well informed of all their options. That is the Wingman culture in action! Thank you for taking care of each other--it's another reason why I'm proud to serve along each and every one of you!

As for the Air Force Assistance Fund, I'm pleased to announce that we're the installation is at 100 percent of our contribution goal as we close out the campaign this week--and indications are that we will exceed that goal as well. Thanks go to the many project officers who made contact with our workforce and for 1st. Lt. Charles Linz, 375th Communication Squadron, for directing that effort. Under the AFAF umbrella are organizations that help Air Force people with aid during an emergency, with educational needs, or to have a secure retirement home for widows or widowers of Air Force members in need of financial assistance. There's still time to donate knowing that tThese funds directly support our Airmen, so again, thank you for your generosity in helping us achieve, and exceed, our goal.

During this same time, we exercised our readiness capabilities to deploy ..--reinforcing reinforcing the fact that Scott AFB is always "open for business." We have many requirements during these exercises, and we continually test our ability to meet those mission demands.

Our efforts with continuous training pays off as evident when the 906th Air Refueling Squadron and the Illinois Air National Guard's 126th Air Refueling Wing quickly responded and participated in the Libyan response efforts under Operation Odyssey Dawn. Because they were able to respond in this real world scenario, they may be receiving credit or partial credit for their upcoming Operation Readiness Inspection, which means they won't have to re-create their deployment and launch capabilities, and instead focus on the Ability to Survive and Operate under wartime conditions. That's just one recent example of how our day-to-day training pays off and it shows that we can be relied upon to execute national requirements any time, anywhere.

Not only do we work on executing the mission flawlessly, but we also work on ensuring that we're fostering a culture of compliance. As I've mentioned before, we are duty bound to maintain razor sharp skills as we fly and fight in air, space and cyberspace! Mishaps and accidents occur because people may get too comfortable, careless or lax in the enforcement of standards; or the mission has become so routine that some people may shave off some of those precautionary steps meant to identify or mitigate trouble spots.

We must maintain constant vigilance in setting and enforcing our standards. Part of gearing up for our Compliance Inspection in late summer means we conduct self-inspections now to determine how well our processes align with published guidance. We must also demonstrate the use and value of Risk Management principles in each daily routine and pursue AFSO21 activities to identify barriers, areas of waste and to hone solid processes. We need to do all we can to not only set the example, but exceed expectations for ourselves and for those we lead. If we do these things, we will outshine and outperform in those basic mission requirements.

Every person from the youngest Airman to the most senior leader has a role in contributing to this culture of compliance. We need to know our people, understand the mission and the full range of requirements and governing regulations. We are unique in that we are responsible for our nation's defense, and we must encourage and instill the core values of Integrity First, Service Before Self and Excellence in All We Do.

By living the core values and exercising like we would perform in the "real world," we'll have the flexibility, ability and resiliency needed to withstand any unforeseen events such as a government shutdown. Rest assured that our service members will always stand at the ready and remain "open for business."