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Commander's Comments: You Are In Charge

October/November -- Wouldn't it be nice if your commander or supervisor came up to you and said those words? Man what sweeping changes you could make! You could improve this, change that, make this easier etc. You probably think that things would go a lot easier if you were in charge because you have a lot of great ideas. Do you? Have you told anyone about your ideas? Are you allowed to (does your supervisor let you)? Do you have the power to do so? Is it your responsibility to do so? You bet it is! 

Everyone has ownership in the 180th Fighter Wing. Everyone, regardless of rank, has a requirement to improve the unit and its ability to accomplish the mission. "But I'm an A1C and even though I have ideas, I'm too new at the job and in the unit to make valid and logical suggestions". Oh really? "Even though I'm a SNCO who possesses a lot of skill and leadership knowledge and experience, I don't feel like I'm being utilized in the upper level decisions in our organization or being empowered to make the tough decisions". No kidding? In both cases, that is a foul. Don't believe me? I'll prove it! 

There is actually an Air Force Instruction that addresses your responsibilities as an Airman based on your rank. One of these responsibilities requires ALL Airmen to be active in their unit. That AFI is 36-2618. Recognize it? It is the Enlisted Force Structure (aka The Little Brown Book). From Airman Basic to Chief Master Sergeant, this AFI tells you what is required of you as an Airman. The Enlisted Force Structure also addresses your requirement to be proactive in your unit and the success of its mission. Read on. I'll prove it! 

Junior Enlisted Airmen (E1-E4): Paragraph 3.1.7 states that you must "develop innovative ways to improve processes and provide suggestions up the chain of command that will directly contribute to unit and mission success." See! I told you so! Even as a Junior Enlisted Airman, you are responsible for and must make suggestions that will improve the unit and its ability to successfully accomplish the mission. Be proactive in what goes on in your shop and around the Wing! Don't wait to be asked. Your input is just as valid as everyone else's. Supervisors - you need to actively engage your junior enlisted in the day to day operations of your section and let them have some ownership in what happens! It is required! 

NCOs (E5-E6): Paragraph 4.1.7 states the exact same thing as paragraph 3.1.7 (see previous paragraph). Again, as an NCO, you must be proactive in what is happening within your shop and at the 180th Fighter Wing. In addition, you must now start looking at the bigger picture! What is going on at the State and ANG levels that may affect the Airmen assigned to your shop and to the 180th Fighter Wing! Is there something I can do about it? Know what is going on outside your section. Be proactive in gaining that information. Once it has impacted the Airmen in your section, it could be too late to change. Get involved in the various Wing councils. Join different CoPs that address enlisted issues and be proactive with them. It is required! 

SNCOs (E7-E9): Paragraph 5.1.5 states that as a SNCO, you have the responsibility to "Help leaders make informed decisions. SNCOs must draw upon their knowledge and experience to provide constructive input to best meet the challenges facing their organizations." It doesn't say best meet the challenges facing their sections. It says best meet the challenges facing their organizations! This is really looking at the big picture! You must look outside the comfort zone of your section and even outside the Wing to look at and deal with issues ANG and USAF wide that not only impact your Airmen, but that also impact the mission of the 180th Fighter Wing. Commanders - empower your SNCOs to do the jobs they are required and trained to do! They have the knowledge and experience. They can help you get the mission done, leaving you time to accomplish your other commander duties! 

Now remember, the Enlisted Force Structure is an Air Force Instruction. Therefore, it is more than written guidance, it is a requirement. Bottom line is this, as I have stated many times before, we all have a stake in the future of this unit and its ability to accomplish the mission. EVERY ONE OF US! Per the AFI, It is required! So what are you waiting for? In a way, you are already kind of in charge. Do something positive with it and make a difference today!
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