Quest for excellence goes on

  • Published
  • By Col. Edward Jennings
  • 908th Airlift Wing
The world recently watched as the world's best athletes gathered in London to compete at the highest level for the distinction of the best in the world. Their reward for an outstanding performance was an Olympic medal, the best being the ultimate prize -- the gold.

The part not seen on TV were the long hours and years of preparation invested by the athletes to prepare for the games. These athletes train in relative obscurity for this chance every four years to compete for the title of "Olympic champion."

We at the 908th have just been through a similar cycle. We worked in relative obscurity preparing our units for the opportunity to show the Inspector General team we are the best at what we do. Much like the athletes at the closing ceremonies, once the IG left town, we all breathed a sigh of relief and let off some steam.

However, many of the Olympic athletes still have competions upcoming, and must maintain a high level of fitness and readiness. Much like them, we must continue maintain the excellence we had for the inspection. That translates to ensuring programs maintain that level so we are ready next time.

More importantly, our hard work ensures we are ready to perform our mission anytime if the nation calls on us, and that we are doing our best to take care of our Airmen. Our continued vigilance allows us to deploy properly trained members for the multiple taskings we know are forthcoming.

Finally, the athlete who is striving for the next contest also works on areas that need improvement. They take advice from coaches on techniques that might make the difference between being on the medal platform and going home empty handed. In our case, we must take the corrective actions necessary to bring identified areas up to standards, and possibly be recognized as an outstanding program or performer for the next inspection.

An Olympic athlete can't prepare themselves for the games by only training and improving when the games draw near. We cannot maintain our readiness or ensure we are properly caring for our people if we are shortsighted and fail to maintain our level of excellence.