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Producing Combat-Ready (and friendly) Airmen

  • Published
  • By Col. Michael Hornitschek
  • 375th Air Mobility Wing Commander
Today marks a new initiative in our readiness journey as we set aside a day every quarter to focus specifically on ensuring our Airmen are trained and prepared for deployments as well as trained and ready to respond in case of a natural disaster or crisis situation. We have teams--from cargo processors to exercise evaluators--fine tuning their skills as well as simultaneously participating in a Strategic National Stockpile Exercise, which is an exercise to effectively manage the Center for Disease Control's National Pharmaceutical Stockpile should it be deployed.

This is part of a regional public health plan and involves local and state health officials as well. Our medical teams will be assessing how they can efficiently process about 300 mock patients as part of this exercise. We know how important all of this training is, especially as we navigate through tornado season and get ready for another large swap of deployment rotations. Every person on our team is critical to our mission and each person must be "all in" as several units will be experiencing significant manning challenges throughout various times this coming spring and summer.

We not only need to know our primary jobs well, but also must be able to respond to emergency situations and unexpected contingency operations, and possibly take on roles and responsibilities "outside our jobs" to contribute to the overall success of the wing, command and Air Force. Taking time out to train is imperative to our success. As we do this, I know our resilient Airmen will continue to Outshine! Outserve! and Outperform! at every level. We are not content with "just doing" the minimum. We have Showcase Pride, and it shows in everything we do.

That Showcase Pride is being enhanced through another initiative as well, customer service training. I've hired a team of experts to come in to train our select customer services representatives as a way to continue their professional development and to help us identify areas throughout the base that we can make shine with just a little extra effort. Specifically our training is focused on improving communication skills; recognizing the impact of attitude, behaviors and perceptions; and learning techniques to assist in modeling appropriate responses to an event to affect a positive outcome for both the customer and our staff.

Our goal is to make the customer feel important no matter what agency they come in contact with. In addition to improving our service to external customers, we'll work to improve cooperation with internal customers as well. Likely we all may have experienced some difficult situations either as a customer or a provider of a service.This closer look can show us how to overcome some of those situations with personal and team skill building, simple procedure modifications, and goal setting.

I'm excited to see how this training will translate for our community and see the response as people take part in this effort. I know it's a worthwhile endeavor and one that will reap big dividends for us. It's no coincidence that we've linked readiness and customer service training together today. Both skill sets must be practiced, and require constant attention to ensure mission success whether it is ensuring our people getting paid, putting our aircraft in the sky, or getting our wounded home. We're doing a great job, and I'm looking forward to seeing this momentum continue not only with the training, but long after as well. Keep up the great work!