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Focusing on Airmen, mission

Col. Jennie Johnson, 403rd Wing commander, leads an Air Force Reserve unit of about 1,500 personnel at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi. Her focus for the wing is on the mission and its Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Staff Sgt. Shelton Sherrill)

Col. Jennie Johnson, 403rd Wing commander, leads an Air Force Reserve unit of about 1,500 personnel at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi. Her focus for the wing is on the mission and its Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Staff Sgt. Shelton Sherrill)

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --

When I accepted the 403rd Wing guidon two months ago, I accepted responsibility for our success.

 

As I said when I took command May 7, leadership is a privilege I don’t take lightly.

 

To be the best leader I can, I promised the men and women of the 403rd three things: My actions will always be in line with our Air Force core values of integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do; I will give 100 percent every single day, because my fellow Airmen deserve no less; and, I will remain focused on what matters most -- our Airmen and our mission.

 

Focus on Airmen

 

I want every Airman in this wing to succeed. To move toward that goal, I’ve pinpointed several areas on which we can focus.

 

First, each member of our wing should have the opportunity and capability to become technical experts in their fields. This involves completing technical schools, career development courses and training plans in a timely manner with the support of supervisors and fellow Airmen.

 

Second, not only is it required for promotion, but professional military education is critical to the development of our Airmen. When our mission allows it, I’d like to see some of our members attend in-residence courses and bring that knowledge back to the Wing.

 

Third, I’d like to provide opportunities for additional career development to the Airmen who are truly exceling and contributing to our team. This might include job opportunities, advanced training courses, promotions and the Deserving Airman Commissioning program.

 

Finally, I want to help foster a Wingman culture. It is critical we take care of one another, especially during the upcoming deployments. We can further develop this culture by making time to get to know one another.

 

Focus on mission

 

It is critical that our mission succeeds. There are three important factors that I believe will contribute to that mission success.

 

First, if we receive a tasking, I want our members to be trained, prepared and have the equipment necessary to deploy to an area of responsibility within days. To achieve this, each member should know and stay up-to-date on his or her individual readiness requirements. Also, commanders and supervisors should know where their people stand and assist, when necessary. For example, you can’t take a fit to fight test for your subordinate, but you can make sure they’re scheduled and help them find ways to maintain a fit lifestyle.

 

Second, much of our energy and resources should focus on preparing for upcoming deployments including those planned for the 815th Airlift Squadron, 803rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, 36th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron and 403rd Security Forces Squadron. Ensuring our Airmen are trained and equipped for their deployed mission is critical.

 

Finally, even though it’s early in the season, I’m already impressed by the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron’s and the 403rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron’s ability to respond quickly to multiple, simultaneous storm taskings and balance the media attention those missions receive. I am confident they will continue to excel throughout storm season.

 

Everyone is a leader in this organization, no matter your rank, position, or experience. I ask all of you to lead and make decisions with our Airmen and mission in mind. We exist to provide combat ready forces to combatant commanders and weather reconnaissance capability to the nation. I am confident we can do what our nation needs, if we remain focused on Airmen and mission.

 

I am truly honored to be the commander of the 403rd Wing and excited to be part of this outstanding team. Thank you for the work you are doing to make this Wing the excellent unit it is. You are awesome!