By Maj. Brian Doyle, 169th MOF Commander
/ Published July 18, 2012
MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, South Carolina -- At a remote airfield, a pair of F-16 "Viper" fighter aircraft zooms overhead, turning left on knife's edge as they get into the landing pattern. Amidst the fleeting sound of the jet engines overhead, the chirp and whine of landing gear coming down on the two airborne fighters signal their intentions to land.
As they make their downwind leg, two more jets gracefully land on the small runway in front of the flightline. Soon after that, two F-16s begin to taxi onto the flightline parking ramp as the crew chiefs signal their parking location.
The flightline is loud; the high pitched sound of air being forced into the jet intake mixed with the blast of thrust coming from the back of the jet is deafening, but a rich sound of power.
Through the heat waves generated by the hot exhaust from the back of the engines, weapons crews stand near the aircraft with munitions ready to load. As the aircraft shut down, the flightline stays alive with the smell of jet exhaust and the sound of big JP-8 fuel trucks rumbling by for refueling operations, while the whine of a weapons jammer lift truck is heard from the weapons loading teams.
Diesel tow vehicles from AGE growl past pulling equipment to Avionics personnel who are repairing a radar system, then to Sheet Metal fixing a panel. Hundreds of repair jobs are scheduled, loaded and tracked simultaneously by other personnel in MOC and PS&D.
Soon, two more aircraft start up and taxi to the end of the runway. Blinking white anti-collision lights are seen moving across the runway as they get into position for takeoff. A whine, then blast is heard as a turbojet engine spools up. The afterburner superheats the air, sending deafening sound waves that shake the ground and vibrate chests as the jet blasts by and becomes airborne, en route to the fight.
To many, this scene might sound like something out of a movie, but it's actually what the 169th Maintenance Group does every day and at every drill!
The maintenance generation of just one sortie is amazing to watch; each person vital to the team. Air Force Core Values of Integrity, Service Before Self and Excellence must be in play on the flightline for safety and quality reasons. However, in addition to Core Values, a few other attributes should be expected of teams to improve performance. I would like to introduce a leadership model called C-Cubed or C3.
Initially, the concrete foundation of our Core Values must exist on the team and within all individuals. This is the base for C3. On top of this foundation, Conviction, Commitment and Courage are built.
First, our members should have a Conviction (or passion) to be on the team. Coaches call this "heart," and it often shows in the form of a positive attitude.
Secondly, Commitment is expected--or perseverance. We must fight through mental or physical challenges to ultimately succeed while still supporting our team.
Lastly, we want to foster "Courage." Being "professionally pushy" when needed demands a certain amount of boldness so risks might be taken for the greater good. It is never comfortable, but always necessary.
Lastly, the very top of C3 is "Stay Focused." Don't let distractions hinder your progress toward accomplishment.
Those who live by the foundation of our Core Values and demonstrate C3 while staying focused are high performers. Leaders at all levels should strive to improve their teams by measuring and improving them with a tool like this and, of course, by leading by example.
C3 can be used in all facets of life. Think about students battling a tough semester or maybe consider your family relationships. Conviction, Commitment and Courage ...while staying focused.
When I walk the flightline or through the shops of McEntire, I always am in awe of the Swamp Fox team. Thank you for your hard work; it is truly noticed.
On a personal note, I want to thank Lt. Col. Chris Shannon, a former boss of mine, for introducing C3 so I might pass it you. I truly hope it helps you become a better leader and/or follower.
As always, Semper Primus!