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May Commander's Corner

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Thomas “Wade” Rivers, commander of the 169th Communications Flight, South Carolina Air National Guard at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, April 24, 2015.  (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Caycee Watson/Released)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Thomas “Wade” Rivers, commander of the 169th Communications Flight, South Carolina Air National Guard at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, April 24, 2015. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Caycee Watson/Released)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. -- Why set expectations? As the new commander for the 169th Fighter Wing Communications Flight, I felt it was extremely important to set expectations for my unit members. Without setting realistic expectations, how can the standards be known and individuals held accountable when they are not met? By setting expectations in the beginning, everyone knows what the standards are and it contributes to a more effective operational unit. I have a full list of expectations that I cover with all of my unit members and I will discuss a few of them in the following paragraphs.

Reputation:  Your unit and the South Carolina Air National Guard have an excellent reputation locally and throughout the country. It is every member's responsibility to ensure that we continue to perform and present ourselves in a manner that not only continues but improves that reputation. 

Team work versus the individual:  While I encourage each member to strive for individual excellence, working together as a team is an absolute must. Teamwork is the force multiplier and each member must be willing to assist others even if it is not their primary skill set.

Attitude:  This is where it has to start and is the primary factor that determines your success at mission achievement and any other endeavor you take on. If you start out with a failing mental state, your actions will almost always follow.

Professionalism:  We are very fortunate to be members of such a unique organization and membership is hard to obtain. The way you conduct yourself is a good indicator concerning the quality of your work. The outside world will often judge you and the Air National Guard by the first impression they have of you. Always present a professional image.

Punctuality:  Missions are very time sensitive and even a slight slip in the schedule could cause failure. Each member is expected to be at work on time and ready to start at that specific time.  Other members are counting on you to be in place when you need to be there. It is not fair to your team members to keep them on standby while waiting for your arrival. It is also unprofessional.

Attendance:  The Air National Guard offers exceptional career opportunities for full and part- time members. Full-time members need to commit to being at work as required to run the day-to- day operations of the base and to prepare for the drill status guardsmen for unit training assemblies and periods of annual training. Part-time guard members need to attend drills and annual training assemblies on a regular basis to stay current on their training and medical readiness. Don't make this a part time, part time job. It just won't work.

Wear of the uniform:  Take pride in the uniform you wear. It is a representation of this great country we live in and have the opportunity to serve. It is often the first, or only, impression many people may get of you. We all learned proper wear and care of the uniform in the beginning and that does not change as your career progresses. This doesn't just apply to while on base.  If you have it on, wear it correctly.

Chain of Command:  This is essential to the efficient operation of your military unit. You have a supervisor and that should be your first point of contact for questions and directions. Your supervisor is there for a reason and breaking the chain of command does not show respect for your supervisor and disrupts operations.

Proactive Nature:  It is your career so take an active part it in. Ensure that you know your training requirements and get them done. If you have doubts or feel like you have hit a wall, talk to your supervisor and find out what is next. Approach it in a professional manner but don't sit back and just wait for everything to come to you. Your engaged manner will make you stand out and show that you have an interest in your own life.

I know this information should be common sense but sometimes we need to remind our members and ourselves about it. Most of these expectations, if not all, are basic elements. Without a strong base we can go in the wrong direction, resulting in loss of time, resources and mission failure. I always finish up my expectations briefing with this. I let the audience know that these expectations don't just apply to them. They apply to me as well.

Semper Primus.