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October Commander's Corner

U.S. Air Force Col. Kim Joye, commander of the 169th Medical Group at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., May 4, 2015. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Edward Snyder/Released)

U.S. Air Force Col. Kim Joye, commander of the 169th Medical Group at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., May 4, 2015. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Edward Snyder/Released)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. -- Although I've read many Commanders Corner articles, this is the first time I have been given the honor of writing one. So when given this assignment, I pondered on what to write. I reflected on the friendships I've made, the comments I've heard, as well as the many lessons I've learned throughout my years here. I've had the benefit of working in three different units and two different groups during my military career (Mission Support Flight, Communications Flight, Medical Group). This "varied past" allows me to understand how each and every member contributes to Swamp Fox Airmen accomplishing their mission.

I'll take this chance to update all of you on the mission changes in the medical group. We are about to implement a transformation that has been in the planning stages for a number of years. The National Guard Bureau intent of the transformation is to provide us with the type of manning we need to perform the duties we most often perform which is the peacetime preventative health (PHAs, etc.) and the domestic response much like that exercised during Vigilant Guard and the full state exercise over the last 15 months. NGB reduced the number of units tasked for the wartime\federal mission of providing medical care to military members during a contingency, etc. So what does that mean? It means that some of our Air Force Specialty Codes have been eliminated from our manning document and the number of 4N (medics) and 4A (admin) has increased. These individuals will assume the responsibility of performing the tasks of those AFSCs which were eliminated from our document. It is much like what many of the civilian hospitals do by cross utilizing employees. It allows the 4N's and 4A's a chance to broaden their knowledge base. This will be helpful should they pursue a position in the civilian healthcare field.

I've learned to appreciate the intangibles my guard career has provided, maybe even more than the tangibles. Our guard time allows us to acquire many life skills which are beneficial to us and our civilian employers. Often I hear members complain about having to train in something that (in our eyes) is not directly related to our immediate job responsibility. My response to that is gaining knowledge is never a bad thing. It's possible you won't appreciate the knowledge you gain in the self-aid-buddy-care class until you're able to apply it during a situation where your loved one needs help. Also the anti-terrorism, active shooter and information security education are certainly tips that you can apply in your everyday life as evidenced by those men who stopped the shooter on the train in France. These are some examples of how the "classes" help us and our families.

I also believe the other items just as work ethics, promptness, respect, professionalism, accountability, selfless service, integrity and the list could go on and on. There are other skills we learn just through performing our jobs. Think about the communication skills we learn by providing a class to your co-workers. Think of the leadership skills you acquire through completing Professional Military Education and being a supervisor in military status. Think of the problem-solving techniques and skills you use every time you come to drill.

Colonels Teer and Noble first introduced me to the 5-10 business year plan. They told me it is important to always be looking forward and evaluating your current state and then determine the steps to take to improve that state. They also emphasized the need to look into the future to determine the needs of the military and evaluate how to make our unit relevant in the future. In the civilian world we call that continuous process improvement and strategic planning.

The life lessons I've received are too numerous to count. I've learned about interacting with people from all walks of life, appreciating diversity and working on a team to get a common goal accomplished. Be prepared for when an opportunity presents itself and many doors will open to you.

I am eternally grateful for all of these lessons and skills the people of the South Carolina Air National Guard have provided to me and I hope each of you will acknowledge the less tangible benefits and gifts of being a guardsman. Remember you are not "just" a guardsman, you "are" a guardsman. Be proud. Thank you for the jobs that each of you do. I wouldn't trade the world for everything I've received from the South Carolina Air National Guard!

Here's your gentle reminder from the MDG:
-As a guardsman it is your responsibility to be medically fit to perform your duty.
-Report any change in your medical status to the MDG.
-Take only medicines that are prescribed for you.
-It's flu season, get your shot as soon as possible!
 
See ya at drill!