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January Chief's Concerns

Chief Master Sgt. Robert Hartzog, with the 169th Communications Flight at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., poses for a photo on Jan. 9, 2013.
(National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Caycee Watson/Released)

Chief Master Sgt. Robert Hartzog, with the 169th Communications Flight at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., poses for a photo on Jan. 9, 2013. (National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Caycee Watson/Released)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, South Carolina -- Happy New Year! If you're reading this then it appears we've survived the Mayan apocalypse, just in time to prepare for an inspection. With the ORI set to kick off this November, I want to talk about some things I believe will help our wing be successful during the inspection and long after.

Never forget how we got here. Many great men and women worked tirelessly to make the SCANG one of the best units in the Air Force. I've been very fortunate to have worked with a lot of those great people. Some of them have retired or passed away and left us with the proud legacy we carry on today. It is now our calling to build on their accomplishments and instill this tradition in the next generation of airmen. I believe as people get a little older they gain perspective; with that you come to realize the best supervisors or mentors were ones that were the toughest to work for and pushed us to succeed. I can tell you that you'll be proud you rose to their expectations. They expected more of you because they see you as the person you can be or will become, when you may only see yourself as you are right now. I know I will always be proud that my first military supervisor saw something in me and encouraged me to be a better airman and to separate myself from some of the bad influences. He asked me to do more and gave me more responsibility than I thought I was capable of handling. In the grand scheme of things, he played a big part in the military becoming a lifelong career for me. It demonstrated that the seemingly small decisions or moments of mentoring that can affect someone's life in unforeseen ways.

Understand your supervisor's role. Supervisors have a job to do and a boss to please, just as you do. This holds true all the way up the chain of command. I believe most enlisted supervisors were promoted because they were the best at their respective duties. I hear people say things like "its easy being the guy in charge because you get to give directions and not really do anything." In my opinion, having someone to do a job for you is harder than doing the task itself in most cases. Ask yourself this...would you think it's an easy thing letting someone else fumble through and learn the tasks that you mastered over the years? Would you want someone to change the plan you laid out or cause conflict over how it is executed? These things can and do affect the way we work together as a unit or wing. The supervisor is putting his trust in you to get the job done. He/she is showing faith that you have what it takes to make the organization successful, which in turn, resonates throughout the chain of command.

Follow the plan. When everyone does their task to the best of their ability, the team will be rewarded with success. A wise man once told me "there's only one head coach on a team, its okay to ask questions but follow the plan. If it doesn't work, we can huddle and change the plan next time but don't try to change the plan just because it benefits you." In most instances success or failure depends on each individual doing their part and working as one cohesive unit. Remember, we can't control what others do but we can control how we perform the task at hand. Each and every one of us plays an integral part in the game plan.

I challenge each of you to take the extra step, work that extra hour and finish the task at hand as if an inspector was looking over your shoulder. Taking the time to do it right and do it better is what keeps McEntire the best in the Air Guard. Alabama football coach Paul "Bear" Bryant must have been talking about an inspection when he said, "It is not the will to win but the will to prepare to win that counts."