What’s your role in the Patriot Wing mission?

  • Published
  • By Col. Michael Miller
  • 439th Operations Group commander
October marked the two-year anniversary of my arrival here. It's hard to believe it's been that long already, but in today's fast-paced, full schedule, "plugged in" way of life, time passes pretty quickly.

Often, our lives can be so focused on just surviving the everyday minutia or the never ending "to do list" that we can no longer see the forest for the trees. Sometimes we don't even have time to look back at our accomplishments, reflect on the difference we've made, or take time to refocus on the big picture. As a group commander, it's my job to keep focused on that big picture; past, present and future.

You've all done an amazing job contributing to our mission. I'm very proud to be your OG commander. Like the passage of time, responsibilities and challenges don't take a break. And within those hours and days, there seems little time to re-energize.

I'm glad to review our wing's challenges and accomplishments of the past two years, as well to refocus us on the importance of what your mission is within the 439th.

We'll begin with the wild and untimely October 2011 snowstorm that caused widespread damage like we've never seen. Some power outages lasted up to a month.

In January 2012, we successfully performed the first-ever deployment of six C-5s and associated crews and maintenance to Southwest Asia in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

We continued to maintain the highest ops tempo for all AFRC C-5 units, while operating under ever-increasing austere fiscal conditions. In August we hosted the very successful Great New England Airshow -- more than 200,000 people came to our base.

That fall we evacuated all our aircraft to Florida for Hurricane Sandy, then flew several cross-country missions ferrying outsized vehicles to help with the recovery effort. Last winter, we dealt once again with Mother Nature, when a severe blizzard hit New England. Shortly thereafter, the wing began preparing for the virtual and then subsequent Consolidated Unit Inspection. The wing pulled down an excellent -- and we rewarded ourselves with a hugely successf Family Day.

And, while juggling all the prep/inspections/recovery, we endured a civilian furlough and a government shutdown (with another four days of furlough). These are tough times. Yet through all that turbulence, you gave us nothing but continued and consistent excellence. The same can-do attitude here prevailed as you did the best you could. The mission got accomplished. And that's the reason why we're all here: to accomplish our mission.

Do you know what our mission is here? It's worldwide delivery of outsize cargo and personnel with our giant C-5 Galaxies. That's why Westover exists. Each of us has a part in helping that mission move. Do you know what your mission is? How does your piece of the puzzle create a successful big picture? Ask your supervisor or your commander to explain it to you. It's essential not only to the mission but to our own job's success and personal satisfaction that each of us understands our roles -- why we're here, why we're needed, and why we make a difference. At the end of the day, at the end of the UTA, at the end of every mission flown, the bottom line is that every single person in this wing makes an important contribution towards Westover's success!

A periodic review and reset is important both personally and professionally. It prevents stagnation, allows for course adjustments, and ultimately helps ensure that we as individuals -- and collectively -- continue to work toward our common goal: mission success.

To recap: Knowing what the mission is and how you contribute to it is step number one. Step two is to set tangible goals that support that mission's success. And step three is to accomplish those goals.

Our wing's success is evidence that we follow these steps. With that continued approach, there's no doubt in my mind that when that call comes, Team Westover will bring its excellence and combat power to bear wherever and whenever needed. Truly, through teamwork we will deliver!