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Reflecting on our country and leadership

  • Published
  • By Col. Marc Van Wert
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing vice commander
As we remember all those who have served and developed our country, it reminds us how important it is to ensure we continue to produce the best and most competent leaders in the Air Force. Our nation expects it, and the only way for us to ensure we maintain the best Air Force in the world is to put our heart and soul into grooming
the next generation of leaders.

This said, I would like to share my philosophy on leadership. The first thing to point out is being a leader is not an end-state. Regardless of your rank or position, we are all continuously growing, evolving and adapting our leadership skills as we serve in different jobs. I constantly observe other leaders in action, to improve my own leadership abilities and to mentor others. Leadership takes practice to be good, and leadership is
really no different than any sport or hobby you do...it takes hard work and dedication to be good--and we must all constantly improve it.

Now many people have a long list of traits to become a good leader. All of these suggestions are great, and I am not downplaying any of them. But I try to keep it simple: To me, the prime foundation of leadership besides the Air Force Core Values (Integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do) resides in pride, a positive attitude, and respect for one another.

As leaders, we should be proud of our unit and instill pride in others. With that pride comes a commitment to excellence, high standards, a competitive attitude, and an unbeatable team. We should all be proud of wearing our uniform -- there is no greater honor than to serve our country, protect our constitution, and ensure our Flag waves above us forever.

By attitude, leaders need to be positive. A positive attitude is contagious and leads to continued mission success, adherence to standards, safety and mission focus. As leaders we must strive to maintain that positive attitude and our personnel and unit will follow suit.

We must also demand from ourselves and others to treat each other with respect. This means treating each other fairly irrespective of religion, race, gender, ethnicity, background, or rank. Treating one another with respect ensures good order and discipline and promotes effective unit cohesion. Bottom line, treat each other as professionals and with the utmost respect...we are all on the same team and trying to execute the same mission.

As we reflect on the 237th birthday of our nation, let me take a moment to thank you all for your service and for making a difference as  leaders. I sincerely appreciate all you have done for Misty and me as our family heads to our next assignment. I also want to welcome Colonel Brian Hill and his wife Suzette to Fairchild. Colonel Hill will take the reins as the new Vice Commander of the 92nd Air Refueling Wing. I can think of no
greater leader that is more capable of serving this Wing, Col Newberry, and our Air Force. I am so proud to have been a member of Team Fairchild, and I wish you all the very best as we execute our Air Force's mission to Fly, Fight, and Win! Be SAFE, thank you to you and your families for all you do, and Happy 4th of July!