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July Commander's Column

U.S. Air Force Col. David Meyer, 169th Operations Group commander at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina Air National Guard, poses for his portrait June 11, 2013.
(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Caycee Watson/Released)

Col. David Meyer, commander of the 169th Fighter Wing at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Caycee Watson/Released)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. -- I am humbled to be writing this Commander's Column as the newest commander of the 169th Fighter Wing. As I look back on the last couple years, I am astounded by what we have accomplished; the stand-up of a new 24/7 alert mission, the aviation package deploying the first un-rainbowed, 120 day AEF to Iraq with the help of the Air Force's largest active-association, then two years later deploying an unprecedented 18 aircraft to Afghanistan while still maintaining our alert posture. Our fire fighters, services, defenders and CE have all had deployments throughout the world. We've excelled in the inspection system through an HSI, LCAP, UCI , Stan Eval Inspection, ORI, CRE, AFOA and FAFE.  In every instance, the Swampfox have set new standards. The efforts put forth to achieve this have been extraordinary.  You have epitomized the Air Force core value of "Service Before Self."  I also realize that you have not been the only ones committing to our success; please thank your family for all their sacrifices time and time again. We could not do what we do without their support.


We are now entering a period of relatively low ops tempo.  I'd like us to take this time to concentrate on three things. The first is one of The Adjutant General's 3 "R's," Readiness. We have spent a lot of time preparing for inspections and deployments, sometimes at the expense of our own readiness. We always want to ensure our medical and physical fitness readiness is up to date and "in the green." But I'd like us to concentrate on AFSC training, and performing those items necessary to get to the next skill level. We all joined the force and went to some sort of school to learn our job. Let's work to be the best at it that we can.

I'd like to concentrate some attention and effort in taking a good look at ourselves and how we do business. Let's figure out if there is some way we can be doing better. This process started with last year's Unit Climate Assessment as some issues were identified that got our attention.  We will continue to work those. Another way we will do this is through our new Air Force Inspection System (AFIS), coupled with the Management Internal Control Toolset (MICT) process. The Inspector General's new inspection goal is to help us "detect the undetected non-compliance." We will assess this in each of four Major Graded Areas (MGAs) which are: Executing the Mission, Managing Resources, Improving our Unit and Leading our People. I am asking you to scrub your MICT checklists and ensure we are all performing our jobs the way we are supposed to, or identify through the chain of command what may be preventing us from doing so (personnel, equipment, funds, training, etc). This identification of our limitations is as important as being "in the green."

Lastly, let's focus on doing the right thing and common respect. We should be governed by an "Integrity First" mindset when making decisions and performing actions. Sometimes "the right thing" may not get us the result we desire, but if it is the right thing to do, then it is the only choice. If we treat each other with the dignity and respect that we all deserve, we will give better customer service because we value each other's time. We will never have an issue with sexual harassment/assault. We will be more patient and understanding as we deal with the various issues that come up on a day to day basis. We are all in this together, with a common mission and goal. Let's ensure we treat each other accordingly

I was at a commander's conference recently, and a four-star general stated, "everyone wants to be McEntire." Your exceptionalism is very well recognized and envied. We are blessed with incredible people with impressive commitment. I am proud to be a part of this team, and incredibly honored to be allowed to lead it.  Semper Primus.