Getting it done

  • Published
  • By Al Strait
  • 21st Space Wing Director of Staff
For many years, we've seen enlisted promotion rates steadily improve. In 1993, 16 percent of senior airmen made staff sergeant; just three years ago nearly half made E-5, and last year nearly 43 percent did.

Clearly, the Air Force makes NCOs quicker than we did 20 years ago. But while a cadre of retirees still lament at how "they don't make NCOs like they used to," I'm here to tell you they're doing great things and growing up quicker than in years past.

Manning shortfalls, troop draw-downs and two-plus decades of deployments merely exacerbate the demands placed on the young NCOs in today's Air Force; resultantly, we expect and demand more of the new E-5 sooner in their career than a generation ago. For example, at the wing's comptroller squadron Staff Sgts. Chad Owen and Darlene Tydingco will run the day-to-day operations of the busiest financial services flight in Air Force Space Command for the next six months due to three vacancies (one E-7 and two E-6s) and two deployments (E-6, E-5). Read that again--two young staff sergeants will do the work that of a master, three techs and three staffs. We ask the impossible and they perform.

It is not only our young NCOs who we are asking more of. You can take any organization on Peterson AFB and you can find that young one or two striper, the company grade officer or civilian who is willing to step up and get the mission done.

The wing recently hosted Lt. Gen. Susan Helms, 14th AF commander, and I was very impressed with Airman 1st Class Annie White from the Area Dental Lab, Airman 1st Class Alexandria Molony from the fitness center, and Airman 1st Class Andrew Ho from the Aragon Dining Facility. Each had the opportunity to brief the general on their respective duties and highlight how their organizations contribute to the wing's day-to-day mission. Their enthusiasm, professionalism and commitment to excellence were truly impressive.

Also impressive is the contributions of the civilian workforce. One unsung civilian hero who gets it done every day is Bob Orwig of the Director of Staff office. Organized, dedicated and possessing a passion for excellence, Bob, as I would say "straps it on every day to achieve mission success." He knows what needs to be done and just does it.

Another civilian hero in my mind is Laura McDonough from the wing Program Management Division. Laura, in the absence of the directorate chief, stepped in as the temporary chief and never missed a beat. She handled several high-level program reviews, program reduction drills and manning challenges, and with perseverance and dedication got the job done.

Finally, I would like to highlight Cindy Litteral, the base deputy fire chief. Whether it is responding to an emergency, training her personnel or promoting education on base and in the community, Cindy is always on her "A" game and ready to get it done.

As I said before every organization has the star player who is getting it done. You know who they are, supervisors know who they are. With each of us doing a little more every day to get it done, there is no doubt Peterson will continue to be the best place to work, live and visit.