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Jointness: The synergy of many

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Robert Carter
  • 62nd Aerial Port Squadron air transportation manager
We've all heard or lived through a merger of one kind or another; consolidating like, same or similar capabilities to capitalize on economy of scale.

In the military, its things like base communications support, orderly room consolidation and even households. But who would have ever thought about combining bases? Joint Base Lewis-McChord is about 18 months old and much has been accomplished, but we cannot stop here.

Who would have ever thought we would be merging bases, especially from two different services, thus "jointness." The uniting of Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base in early 2010 brought together the oldest and youngest armed services into one installation, creating JBLM.

With this union brought a lot of behind the scenes meetings, working groups, spreadsheets, status updates and a plethora of organizational diagrams. These worked towards the Full Operational Capability date we realized on Oct. 1, 2010.

Although, we did not break new ground with JBLM. There are 11 other joint bases in the Department of Defense that have endured these tasks and overcome the "merger fear" and creating new super-bases.

Those of us who have spent a tour or more in a Joint Command can appreciate the "flavor" the joint team effort provides to the fight. Although initially a small learning curve to overcome, working alongside our brothers and sisters in arms, our sister services, has many great benefits such as learning new ways of doing business, an ability to look at a process, procedure, plan or operation from another perspective and ultimately a view of the bigger picture.

Additionally, events such as the U.S. Army's Sergeants Time, and the U.S. Navy's Chief's Mess are just a couple of noncommissioned officer events in our sister services' cultures from which we can learn and grow by observation, interaction and participation in these gatherings.

We already fly, fight and win our nation's wars alongside our sister services. We participate and attend events such as air shows and Fleet Weeks with our sister services, but we always seem to share a defined line, or fence, between our installations that creates a defined line of demarcation between us and them.

As we mature as a joint base, we'll continue to sort out issues and support being part of a DOD event changing process that created a larger, stronger military installation. We did not make Soldiers into Airmen, nor Airmen into Soldiers. We retained our core service cultures and will continue to grow within our respective branch of service as the military professionals we are.

If you have not embraced the joint team concept, don't worry, it's already embraced you.