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April Commander's Corner

South Carolina Air National Guard portrait of U.S. Air Force Col. Keith Miller, commander of the 169th Operations Group, from McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., September 30, 2015. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman Megan Floyd/Released)

South Carolina Air National Guard portrait of U.S. Air Force Col. Keith Miller, commander of the 169th Operations Group, from McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., September 30, 2015. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman Megan Floyd/Released)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. --

Gotta say I’ve been having some writer’s block.  See, I’m not a man of words like my friend, “Paps” Meares, who eloquently delivered his five keys to leadership during Martina Borg’s promotion to chief master sergeant. I was chatting with Senior Master Sgt. Ed Snyder about this and he told me to, “…just have fun with it – Dolph it up!” My name as a verb…imagine the implications – yikes! Here we go:

I’m results oriented. We are mission focused at McEntire.  Everyone has skin in getting the mission done, no matter where you work or what you do. Always try to work smarter, but you still have to work hard, that’s the nature of our business. Even though we are short on people and resources, try to have a backup plan to prevent a single point of failure. Also, as some of our folks who went to Nellis AFB, Nev. in March found out, we sometimes still have to prove ‘Guard haters’ wrong through the results of our work and the capabilities we bring to the fight.

Say reason. Seriously, if you tell people what you’re trying to do and why, they can contribute their expertise and creativity to get something done better. They also become invested in the process and the end result. Along those lines, if you can help a commander achieve his or her objective, use your expert knowledge to find a way to make it happen rather than feel important by saying ‘no’. That was just what Chief Master Sgt. Rob Wright did to help us put sunshades on the flight line after the previous airfield manager spent years saying we couldn’t. Our sense of ownership in the SCANG and our reputation is key to our success – help us win.

Don’t do stupid stuff. Related to ‘say reason’ and the ANG/NOSC, Network Operations and Security Center. Try to figure out the purpose of something that seems stupid and find a better way. When I became the commander of the 169th Operations Group, commanders had to sign an AF Form 2096, Classification/On-The-Job-Training Action, seven different times because that’s how the form worked when it was on carbon paper, (if you know what that is). We stopped doing that. We also streamlined the LOD, Letter of Designation, process since the point is to know who is responsible for what and how to contact them. Unfortunately, pilots still have to fill out ORM, Operational Risk Management, worksheets – we can’t fix everything. You still have to do things you don’t really want to sometimes.

Do your stuff.  PME won’t get you promoted – job performance, potential to perform at another level and the opportunity (job) to do so will – but PME, CCAF and CDCs will definitely keep you from getting promoted. Knock that stuff out as soon as you can, (so to speak).

Give me the bad news early. Fess up! Bad news doesn’t get better over time. If it’s something you did, we’ll work through it. If you need help and are floundering with ADLS, AROWS, ATAAPS, ASIMS, DTS, DFAS, IMDS, TriCare, etc., the sooner you ask for help, the sooner a supervisor or commander can try to help fix your problem so you can do something more productive – and less stressed.

We’re in it for the long haul at McEntire, so take care of your family and yourself. Col. Akshai Gandhi, vice-commander of our wing, says that your priorities in peacetime should be family (which includes making money), your primary job and then your Guard job. Those priorities may vary depending on personal and world events. Make as many family events as you can. Take care of yourself by working out – be consistent and realize you may have to change how you work out over time. Believe this from a guy with orthopedic issues. How much you eat and drink is 80-90% of the equation, especially as you get older.  Calories in should equal calories out.

Finally, take pride in being a Swamp Fox – I certainly do and am grateful for the opportunities I’ve had and the great Americans I’ve been able to work for and with while here.  Semper Primus!  Dolph out.