Adaptability: A cornerstone of success

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- I belong to a flexible and responsive workforce, ready and able to deploy to protect the theater and nation's interests.

Regardless of one's world view or spiritual perspective, most would agree that we, as individuals, are affected by forces external to us. These forces include subordinates, supervisors, friends, strangers, the economy, the weather, and countless other influences.

"Adaptability" is the quality or ability to alter one's course, thoughts or actions in response to external forces. The same concept applies to groups and organizations.

Your strength lies in your ability to adapt--both on and off duty. More importantly, our collective strength as a wing, as Team Eielson, and as an air force is firmly rooted in this powerful quality.

The longer I live, the more firmly I believe I'm constantly being prepared for greater things to come. I believe this is true for each of us as individuals. I believe it is equally true for our respective families, our Air Force family, and our nation.

There are countless historical examples which illustrate the direct correlation between adaptability and success. The concept can be universally applied across nearly all realms of human existence ranging from military campaigns to business and finance; from politics to culinary arts (my father taught me you can even make a tomato sandwich without tomato ... ketchup is the magic ingredient). Furthermore, the link between adaptability and success is alive and well at Eielson. I am confident there are many stories just waiting to be shared.

One such example begins in the form of a question. What do you get when you team up one of each of the following: an intelligence officer, a pest management senior NCO (a.k.a. bug guy), aerospace propulsion senior NCO, a pharmacy senior NCO, an aircraft maintenance NCO and an electronic systems communications NCO?

Prior to last spring, I would never have guessed! I would've been equally puzzled by what purpose they could possibly share. I now know that this cast of actors forms the basis of the 354th Fighter Wing Inspector General team.

More importantly, I can confidently say that this team is aggressively and successfully performing its assigned purpose. It is leading efforts to prepare Team Eielson to meet its assigned wartime mission, and it is providing a venue for complaints to be addressed in a fair, thorough and timely manner.

None of us ever guessed we would be part of such a team. None of us attended an IG "technical training school." There is no true "technical training school" for IG duty. However, all of us received highly specialized training in our respective areas of expertise. All of us learned to problem solve. All of us learned to call on the expertise of others when the situation exceeds the bounds of our own personal knowledge base. In many ways, we have each spent our entire military careers training for the job we currently hold.

You and I are very much the same. Your shop and my shop share many of the same qualities. While we may be at different places along the same journey, our stories do not differ. We learn, we adapt, we succeed--we are Airmen! You are the reason that our fellow Americans can sleep peacefully at night, and you are the reason that our adversaries can not. I encourage you to share your own success stories.

Your story is our story. It is indeed an honor to be your wingman, and I count it a privilege to have you as mine.