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March Commander's Corner

Portrait of U.S. Air Force Col. Adrian Meyer, commander of the 169th Maintenance Group assigned to the South Carolina Air National Guard’s 169th Fighter Wing at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, Jan. 30, 2020.

Portrait of U.S. Air Force Col. Adrian Meyer, commander of the 169th Maintenance Group assigned to the South Carolina Air National Guard’s 169th Fighter Wing at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, Jan. 30, 2020. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Edward Snyder, 169th Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

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

In order to grow and get better we must reflect on our actions both as individuals and organizations. In unprecedented times, we must not accept the status quo in any aspects of our lives both personally and professionally. The last year has proven that the world is changing faster than any of us has ever imagined and we are faced with new challenges. We have witnessed a global pandemic, civil unrest and turmoil in our lives at every turn. However, as Swamp Foxes we have continued the mission, supported each other in both good and bad times, and kept faith that tomorrow will be better for us all. We must reflect on what we did well and where we have room for improvement to fulfill the hope of a better tomorrow. 

“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience which is bitterest.” Confucius

The last year has brought many challenges to the Swamp Foxes from preparing for a deployment that was moved forward, impacts in all aspects of our lives due to COVID-19, and an ever-changing plan to our aircraft modernization schedule. We continue to face all of these challenges today across the wing! Have we taken the time to reflect; how has it affected us both physically and mentally? We have done a great job of minimizing the spread of COVID across the base, but are we sure we could have done things better especially with social distancing, mask wear and challenging each other to protect ourselves even more than we did? We could have done more to realize the mental impact twelve months of disruption to our normal daily routines would cause to our Swamp Fox family. What could we have done differently to ensure each of us were fully reaching our potential through understanding and inspirational leadership that ensures our diversity is an attribute and not a deterrence?  These are all valid learning points both individually and organizationally across the wing.

We have accomplished many things including supporting individual sections when hit with COVID. We adjusted teams, duty schedules to align with family needs, and took care of each of our families with support on an individual basis. We have increased our leadership and diversity training across the wing at all levels. We have gotten to know each other better, giving us a greater depth of understanding of each other’s backgrounds and desires. Teams grow through adversity and we have seen a year unlike any most of us have ever encountered. We have adapted to helping each other more than ever before. With 72 hours’ notice, we as a wing were able to generate aircraft, equipment and people to support Red Flag at Nellis AFB, Nevada, showing that adversity has made us better. Facing COVID challenges at Red Flag, the 169FW was presented the Commander’s Excellence award in Maintenance, showcasing Swamp Fox teamwork.

As the world continues to evolve, we are hopeful to a return to normalcy that we haven’t seen since March of 2020. Let’s challenge each other to build on the successes and reflect in order to grow on the things we could have done better. The next year will bring its own challenges as we send our teammates down range and then relocate the flying operation due to runway construction. Each of us has a job that supports the mission of the wing, reflect on your part of the mission success and continue to grow and get better every day. Thank you for being a part of the wing, your sacrifices to our state and nation are never far from the front of our thoughts. We will continue to challenge you to reach your full potential in the hopes of a better tomorrow for you, your family and our great nation!  Semper Primus!