Taking care of Airmen; Don't miss an opportunity

  • Published
  • By Col. William Uhlmeyer
  • 821st Air Base Group commander
On Dec. 19, I was approached by a senior NCO who informed me that we may have a unique opportunity to make a very positive impact on two of our Airmen.

They were both scheduled to PCS from Thule Air Base on the weekly rotator flight Dec. 30. The senior NCO excitedly described how we could marshal the forces of the group, out-process both Airmen in hours instead of days and get them a seat on the Dec. 23 rotator flight so they could spend Christmas with their families. The SNCO, who had already done a lot of the leg work, determined the last scheduled duty day for both Airmen and produced an executable plan when we first spoke.

We pulled the remaining required pieces of the plan together and pulled the trigger. Group personnel took great satisfaction in helping their fellow Airmen surprise their families with an early return for the holidays. While this example may be more dramatic than most, it clearly illustrates that there are times, if we proactively look for opportunities, where we can positively impact and motivate our Airmen while increasing morale in the process.

In this case, it took a motivated senior NCO to identify an opportunity, develop a plan and drive it to completion. The key to making this happen was when a leader, understanding he is charged with looking out for the welfare of all Airmen, recognized an opportunity and acted. This case is nothing new for this NCO as he is constantly on watch for ways to positively impact our Airmen. And that's today's message; Don't miss an opportunity to take care of our Airmen.

As anyone will quickly say, "Taking care of our Airmen is the responsibility of all leaders." The challenge comes when this is put into effect. I suggest that while all leaders understand this as intuitive, the leader who is constantly on guard, prospecting for opportunities, asking questions, getting involved, and understanding the day in the life of our Airmen, will be more effective in caring for and supporting our most valuable resource; our Airmen.

So the charge today is simply this: be alert, proactively look for ways to increase morale, seek out ways to improve living conditions, working conditions, processes, procedures, policies and most importantly, see what Airmen are seeing ... and listen to them.