Maintain the Warrior Spirit

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- Let me start by saying that the ideas presented in this article are nothing new. I hope that most of it will sound very familiar to all of you.

In fact, the following is basically a rewrite of a lesson plan we used back at Base-X 10 years ago but it is just as applicable here today as it was there then.

Everyone who works for the Air Force, whether military or civilian, has taken an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. The purpose of the Constitution is to provide a framework for the way our country is led and operated.

All too often we forget about our oath when we are faced with all the daily issues we must deal with in providing for our customer, the American public. However, in forgetting that oath we fail to focus on the purpose of the Air Force and the reason why each of us is here. When we lose sight of that reason, our efforts often fail to take shape and the result can be confusion and frustration.

The 354th Fighter Wing also has a constitution, of sorts, and every member of every unit in the wing fits into a specific role which together ensures we accomplish our mission. Of course we don't call it a constitution; we call it a strategic plan.

It is Eielson's strategic plan which links the various goals and tasks of our units together for the wing, and links the wing to the goals and tasks of 11th Air Force, Headquarters Pacific Air Forces, and Headquarters United States Air Force.

By being linked together in this way, we ensure our direction here at Eielson remains consistent with the leadership focus of the rest of the Air Force. Our strategic plan is basically a road map which shows each of us what direction to go in.

There are four parts to Eielson's Strategic Plan: Mission, Vision, Goals, and Tasks. The wing's mission provides the foundation from which our goals and tasks originate. Our mission here at Eielson is "to prepare U.S. and allied aviation forces for combat, to deploy Airmen in support of global operations, and to enable the staging of forces to promote U.S. interests in the Asia-Pacific region."

A strategic plan implies a vision for what the future will be like. It is obviously difficult to accurately predict many things about the future, but the current Air Force programs, along with political/military trends allows us to make some assumptions about the future as it impacts the Iceman Team. This vision is our view of where the wing will be in five to 10 years.

The goals we set for our wing must lead us back to our mission. For the 354th Fighter Wing to provide 11th Air Force and Pacific Air Forces with the ability to prepare, support, and enable as our mission statement calls for, we have to focus on two major goals: providing combat capability and fostering excellence. In order to achieve these goals we must break them down to their individual parts so that we can clearly see the tasks required to reach these goals.

To produce combat capability, the wing no longer deploys fighter squadrons directly to global operations. Instead, we train aviators from across the Air Force and allied countries so they will be well prepared for future combat operations. We also prepare Airman from across the spectrum of career fields to deploy forward and effectively do their jobs. At the same time, we engage in various ongoing and special missions such as Olympic Titan and Tanker Task Force operations. Simply put, we prepare, support, and enable combat capability.

In order to foster excellence we must take care of both our people and our infrastructure.

We must lead our Airmen to be trained and prepared, both mentally and physically, to perform the tasks we ask of them. We also need to improve where we live, work and play.

A few examples would be upgrading the base utilidor system which carries heat and power to every home and office on Eielson, improving the Two Seasons Dining Facility, constructing a new base exchange and chapel, and adding a major addition to the fitness center and keeping it open 24-hours a day!

The 354th Fighter Wing can not complete its tasks without you and all the other civilian and military members of the Iceman Team. Your leadership, teamwork and dedication reflect the core values of the Air Force.

Integrity First means that we have a foundation of trust in the leadership each individual displays as they contribute to the team effort to the best of their ability. Service Before Self reflects the dedication of Airmen in getting the mission done the right way, even when it means making personal sacrifices. Excellence In All We Do challenges us to continually build our skills, knowledge, and experiences and to apply them to find new and better ways of accomplishing the mission.

We really can not afford to forget the reason why each of us is here. All of us work for the American public. They trust us to do our jobs the best way possible. The oath we all took obligates each of us on the Iceman Team to do our best to prepare, support, and enable through our leadership, our teamwork, and our dedication.