Lifetime learner: What's the newest tool in your toolbox?

  • Published
  • By Maj. Karen Dayle-Horsley
  • 341st Force Support Squadron Commander
We juggle many mission needs every day and the associated personnel support to take care of our people.  Take a moment to think about the last time you operated outside your comfort zone.  I caution against the perception that you don't need any more training because you've been around a long time.

As Air Force leaders, it is our duty to grow the next generation.  This also means ongoing self-improvement.  The capabilities of helping agencies and professional development opportunities adapt with each passing year, including suicide prevention techniques, family stress resources and educational developments in GI Bill programs.  Take advantage of these programs, whether it's a John Maxwell course through the Education Center or a class at the Airman and Family Readiness Center.  Can't break away or have a group who need something like that?  Call us and we'll make arrangements with you to teach in your duty section!

Each of us works our way through the appropriate professional military education and career field certifications.  When's the last time you visited a different shop on base or stopped to learn more about any of the helping agencies for an immersion?  I've had the pleasure of visiting our crews on alert many times and spent a day in the field with missile maintenance as they performed periodic maintenance at a launch facility.  It's a great way to keep you mission focused by learning about other warriors in Wing One.  Make it a point to find ways to better support or improve communications with another section and don't forget to take a couple of your troops with you along for the visit.

Additionally, I challenge each of you to learn about at least one helping agency's purpose and capacities to the same comfort level you know your own shop.  There seems to be some misperceptions that you don't need to learn about Airman and Family Readiness because you're single, or chaplain services because you're not really a church person, or equal opportunity because you don't have any complaints.  The reality is if you're learning about these or other agencies during a moment of real world challenges, you're behind the power curve and may be delaying getting someone the help they need at that very moment.

Professional development has many components and the Comprehensive Airman Fitness Program and the professionals in the 341st Force Support Squadron will help keep you and your team mission ready.  Don't forget to keep adding Air Force big picture understanding to your toolbox as your progress in your career.   Never stop learning.