Team Malmstrom and pride of ownership

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. David Lair
  • 341st Maintenance Group deputy commander
Team Malmstrom earned high marks during the recent Twentieth Air Force Combat Capability Evaluation and in the 341st Maintenance Group, much of that performance can be traced to one simple concept: Pride of Ownership. Many of us have witnessed the power of this concept in the course of our daily lives. For example, my brother owns some rental properties and he recently shared with me a story of a tenant and his lack of concern for the property he was renting. The tenant broke his lease and in the process left the property in shambles. Would he have shown such disregard for the property if he owned it? Not likely. Another example can be posed as a question: When was the last time you washed, waxed and vacuumed a rental car? After all, you don't own it; it's somebody else's job and/or problem. You can no doubt think of many more examples but the point is very clear and that is, in most cases we take care of what we own. 

When it comes to the mission of the 341st Missile Wing, which is to defend America with combat-ready Airmen and nuclear forces, we exude pride of ownership. Our mission requires extra vigilance and care due to the fact we operate, maintain and secure extreme weapons in an extreme environment. This necessitates extreme standards and I'm proud to say our maintainers proved themselves in the latest standards test, the 20th AF CCE. The CCE was conducted Aug. 24 through Sept. 2 and measured technical proficiency and training and evaluation programs and processes. The wing earned an overall "satisfactory" rating which to the casual observer might sound average. However, Col. Gary Pond, 20th AF vice commander, had this to say at the Sept. 3 out-brief: "In the old days, this would have been an "excellent" rating and this time we looked harder and looked deeper. You all did a great job." 

The Maintenance Group had an overall "satisfactory," but there were several areas rated "excellent" and those results can be traced directly to the pride of ownership factor. For example, our special-purpose vehicles and tool boxes had names stenciled on them which said loud and clear, "I own this." 

You've probably heard this referred to as the "crew chief" concept. This concept was born in our Air Force in the 1970s when Gen. (Wilbur) Creech was the Commander of Air Force Tactical Air Command. It was routine for aircraft to be pushed through a centralized maintenance procedure but he wanted a name attached to that process. The goal was to personalize maintenance, instill pride in workmanship and establish a sense of ownership. The aircraft crew chief concept was embraced and the result was increased sortie alert rates and aircraft mission capability. 

Similarly, our maintainers understand that maintenance is personal and not some corporate process. We have posters throughout the maintenance complex with a picture of maintainers in action with the caption, "Deterrence: It's got your name on it." And make no mistake, this isn't a bumper sticker program we developed to decorate our halls. It's simply a reminder that our mission is critical to our nation's security and we own it!