My beliefs and expectations

  • Published
  • By Col Robert H. Shepherd
  • 908th Airlift Wing
I am proud to serve you as your commander during Col. Clark's deployment. Together we can make this a smooth transition and this document will give you some insight into my principles and vision for where we are headed.

The focus of the 908th Airlift Wing is to be "Ready...Always!" We directly support our fellow warfighters and we all play a vital role in providing that service. I'll help each of you picture your particular position in accomplishing our mission.

We face many challenges: an evolving Reserve identity, a very high operational tempo and continuing personnel changes to mention a few. We can meet these challenges as long as we are united as members of a team that seeks solutions, rather than as individuals seeking personal gratification. We owe our dedicated effort to our fellow Airmen, the Air Force and the American people.

First things first...what I believe
I am guided by principles, among which is the set of Air Force Core Values: Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence In All We Do. These ideals are simple and timeless, providing us a framework for decision-making and personal conduct, both on duty and off.

Loyalty is a must for all of us. This means loyalty up the chain of command by keeping your boss in the loop as well as down the chain to those you supervise by providing guidance and support. Treat everyone with respect and find opportunities to mentor those around you.

I am a firm believer in personal responsibility. We will all make mistakes from time to time; this means we are trying to stretch ourselves. I have great respect for people who can admit they make them and learn from these episodes. I have little patience for those who cannot. There is also a difference between an honest mistake and a crime. My loyalty to you will end and due process will begin as soon as a crime is committed.
Strive to maintain balance in your life, including mental, physical and spiritual aspects.

Stay mentally sharp by reading, both professionally and for enjoyment. Professional military education provides many opportunities for occupational growth and I would encourage everyone to enroll in the appropriate level of PME as soon as you are eligible.

Physical fitness is essential to our combat readiness and routine exercise helps us cope with the stresses that accompany our duties. Fit to Fight is just one measurement.

As warriors, we can be called on to "walk through the valley of the shadow of death" on a moment's notice. We must be prepared to make that journey.

My expectations
We should not let this leadership change cause unnecessary turmoil. I expect to minimize the "sniffing" period and get down to business quickly. To that end, keep doing what you're doing until you hear otherwise from me. I will make no stealth policy changes.

Although I've been with you for over a year as the Vice Commander, my perspective has changed somewhat in the new position. You can help me shape my mental model by keeping me informed about your work projects. I have no desire to micromanage anyone, nor do I have the expertise required to do your job. However, I do want to know what I can do to make it easier for you do your work. I stand ready to give you the additional horsepower or resources you may need, which is frankly the only thing I can really provide.

Along those same lines, I expect everyone to be experts in their areas of responsibility and function without limitation within those areas. I want each of you to make decisions when they need to be made and keep me informed as appropriate. I'll make the call if you cannot, but don't ask me to do it because you choose not to do so.

I have a couple of pass/fail items: drinking and driving, the use of illegal drugs and sexual harassment. I will not tolerate violations of the Air Force policies regarding these topics.

What you can expect from me
I will serve you with all of my heart and strength. You are my focus and I will try to make your lives better whether on duty or not. I have no hidden agenda or overly ambitious career aspirations. I will lead at a fast pace with high standards, clear direction and honest appraisal.

In conclusion...
I am honored and humbled to be your commander. We all have been entrusted with critical responsibilities and have sworn a solemn oath to perform our duties to the utmost of our abilities.

Together we will continue to improve our organization and become the best wing in the Air Force.

I look forward to getting to know each one of you.