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July Chief's Concerns

Portrait of South Carolina State Command Chief Master Sgt. Dean Widener. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Edward Snyder/Released)

South Carolina State Command Chief Master Sgt. Robert Widener. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Edward Snyder/Released)

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

Ready and Relevant

What an exciting time to be part of the new Air Force. The new structure requires a greater reliance on the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve. It is one that entails a 3 to 1 concept; combining active Air Force, Air Force Reserve and the Air National Guard into "one Air Force" concept. While the wheels are in motion to implement this concept, it's important to know how critical it is that we are Ready and Relevant to meet this concept.

We must be Ready to answer our call. Being Ready means everyone must know how to do their job which they were trained to do. In the past, the Air Force put a huge emphasis on professional development, personal growth and community service while the Air Guard was burdened with numerous CBT's, ancillary training requirements and PME. But when it came down to it, a significant amount of Airmen couldn't fully perform their actual jobs due to these additional areas of focus. All the additional personal growth and ancillary training doesn't mean a hill of beans if munitions can't be loaded, MICAPS don't move and jets can't take off and deliver ordinance on target.

It's like the story of the turkey chatting with a bull. "I would love to be able to get to the top of that tree," sighed the turkey, "but I haven't got the energy."

"Well," replied the bull. "Why don't you nibble on some of my droppings? They're packed with nutrients."

The turkey pecked at a lump of dung and found that it actually gave him enough strength to reach the lowest branch of the tree. The next day, after eating some more dung, he reached the second branch. Finally after a fourth night, there he was proudly perched at the top of the tree. But he was promptly spotted by a hunter, who shot him down out the tree. The moral of the story: BS might get you to the top, but it won't keep you there.

Our Airmen must know their jobs, they must be able to perform their jobs and we must be Ready to answer our state and nations call.

It is also critical to understand that our organization and personnel must be Relevant. Webster's Dictionary defines relevance as having a significant and demonstrable bearing on the matter at hand. The organization and person whose job directly affects the mission or has a demonstrable bearing on the matter at hand are the ones who are relevant and are sought after by others.

We have to make sure our leaders and citizens understand why they are better off with us and what our contributions bring to the table. Staying relevant is part of the life blood that sustains any organization. Quite simply, if an organization doesn't produce a product or service that is important and provide value to its customers, then the organization will cease to exist.

We can't just say we are the best F-16 fighter wing, we have to prove our relevance through deployments, CREs, continued development of our future leaders and increased roles in our state and federal mission. We must stay fully engaged and at the tip of the spear.

Famous author, John C. Maxwell wrote, "We cannot become what we need by remaining what we are."

Simply put, you can belong to a great organization like the Swamp Fox, be the best worker, the hardest worker and/or the most loyal, it doesn't matter. The only organization or person who truly matters is the one who is RELEVANT.

It's no secret. Budget constraints will take a toll on many organizations and some organizations and programs won't survive. That's why it's imperative we remain Ready and Relevant. Ready with the expertise and knowledge to perform our jobs, Ready as leaders to ensure we provide leadership and growth through PME and force development for our future leaders. Relevant in that our state and nation rely on what we can bring to the fight and that we have a significant and demonstrable bearing on the matter at hand.

Benjamin Franklin said, "By improving yourself, the world is made better, be not afraid of growing too slowly. Be afraid only of standing still."

If you were to give yourself an honest assessment, how Ready and Relevant are you to our mission success?