Commander's Corner- October 2016

  • Published
  • By Colonel Robert E. Culcasi
  • 166 AW
It is my distinct honor to represent the men and women of the 166th Airlift Wing as the Wing Commander. Moving forward, my focus will be on "People, Mission and Teamwork."

We need to take care of our Airmen and get them the resources and training to accomplish the mission. All of you have and continue to execute our mission in a superb manner. For that you can take great pride in your record of excellence. We cannot execute our mission or take care of or people without exceptional teamwork. Whether it's during a deployed operations or trying to provide our team with the best support for training at home. So I'll pass on a short story for your consideration.

In 1994, I was assigned to the 52nd Airlift Squadron at Moody AFB, GA. We were activated under the 347th Wing which was primarily a fighter wing at the time. When I first got to my new unit it only had one maintenance trailer, one operations trailer and one aircraft. We were going to have to build the unit from the ground up. As a young Captain, I didn't know anything about how to create a budget, manage a flying hour program, develop a training plan or anything of the kind. It was frustrating and demotivating to work long hours and at the end of the day I felt like I had nothing to show for all of my work. On top of it all, my boss, the Lieutenant Colonel Operations Officer, was not interested in how we weren't familiar with the process or didn't have experience with that area of running a flying squadron. He was relentless! It seemed to all of us that he was telling us to do things that were well ahead of our rank and experience and we were being pushed to our breaking point.

One afternoon, we were sitting around in the squadron at the end of the duty day complaining about our situation. Someone asked the group, "Why do you guys even come to work?" "Why not just take leave and let someone else deal with this stuff?" Valid questions certainly when everyone seemed to be having the same experience. After a moment, someone spoke up and offered a simple reason why they still came to work each day. They said, "I come here and do the job because I don't want anyone on my team to carry my weight or take care of things that I'm supposed to be responsible for." That conversation has stuck with me over the years and I feel the same way about it that he did then.

I come to work to support my team and my teammates. If everyone does their part, then the team functions effectively. Our individual pieces need to fit together and even overlap slightly to allow the whole team to function efficiently and effectively. Even superstars need the support of their teammates, right? So I call on each of you to support your team, take care of our Airmen, support our mission and continue to build our strengths through teamwork.