A Season of Change

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. David W. Lair
  • 341st Maintenance Group deputy commander
Spring is a season of change. We've all noticed the dandelions are in full bloom and the yards require mowing and trimming. And of course, since it's only late May, we know there's still a chance for a good snowstorm. Remember the first week of June in 2008 when we received nearly a foot of snow?

Along with the weather changes, spring and summer ushers in change in the form of personnel reassignments. Some of you have probably noticed the announcements for multiple changes of command, as well as retirements. But as people move on to new assignments and separate or retire, the beat must go on. I have a question for you folks that are moving on. Have you trained your replacement? If not, you haven't finished your job yet.

Combat units couldn't survive and be effective if this concept wasn't fully embraced. In combat there's a very real possibility that your wingman or fellow soldier may not survive to the end of an engagement or tour. It's critical that everyone on the "team" knows how to pick up the slack and carry on with the mission. In our relatively safe environment here at Malmstrom AFB, it's just as crucial.

So, let's revisit my original question. Have you trained your replacement? We owe it to the future generations of Airmen to train, mentor and guide the people in our organizations and it's not hard to do. We can do simple things like encourage our personnel to attend and enroll in Professional Military Education. People can also grow professionally when they get involved in professional organizations on base and in the local community. Additionally, we can mentor our people by showing them how to write effective awards packages and performance reports. And finally, showcase your duties to junior personnel and allow them to shadow you as you perform your job. For example, let junior personnel accompany you to meetings, working groups or TDYs. If you work in the missile field, let them ride out with you and observe you while you do your job. If you work on base, let them shadow you as you fulfill your duties throughout the day.

Nuclear Deterrence Operations is a key Air Force core function and the men and women of the 341st Missile Wing train every day to defend America with combat-ready Airmen and nuclear forces. Our mission of deterrence is very important and the effectiveness of the nuclear enterprise depends on each and every one of us. This summer is no different than any other summer at Malmstrom AFB and we'll see people come and go. But our mission is critical and it must continue seamlessly despite the changes. It's everyone's duty to ensure their replacement is ready to step in and assume the awesome responsibility we all have to our vital mission.