Excellence In All We Do

  • Published
  • By Col. Craig Drescher
  • 908th Airlift Wing

 A few years ago, the 908th Maintenance Group was led by a dynamic and innovative leader, Col. Cauley von Hoffman. She was generous with her time and graciously mentored myself and another junior Lieutenant Colonel, Ken Ostrat. Brigadier General von Hoffman, who was recently nominated for the rank of Major General, used to say that the 908th Maintenance Group was not only executing their mission with excellence, they were “exporting excellence” to the rest of the wing and beyond. 

In our recent Extremism Training we are reminded of our oath to support and defend the constitution of the United States and of our Air Force Core Values; Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence In All We Do.  Last July, I wrote that I thought, “Woven into each of the three values is respect; respect for yourself, respect for the organization and respect for each other.  We all have the responsibility to hold each other accountable to respecting the Core Values and each other, it’s integral to the success of each team and the organization at large.”  I would add that alarm bells should go off if we ever believe one airman or group of airmen are being treated differently.  

In this commentary, I want to align with General von Hoffman and focus on one of our Core Values:  Excellence in All We Do.  Over the last year, I’ve witnessed the entire wing not only executing the mission with excellence, but exporting excellence along the way.  The wing is delivering excellence under some of the most challenging circumstances one could possibly imagine; a 100-year pandemic emergency, executing the largest deployment in the history of the wing, while planning for a re-mission the likes of which the Air Force has never even attempted before.  These unique challenges have resulted in a wing that has banded together to take care of one another and to make sure every airman is ready for deployment and beyond.  You boldly accepted the challenge to stare down the adversity we faced and reach for excellence – TOGETHER.

During the April “A” UTA, I witnessed the 908 ASTS execute a medical rodeo to meet the medical requirements for more than 300 deployers and alternates.  The rodeo took weeks of planning to coordinate out of town quest help so our Airmen could efficiently receive what they needed.  Additionally, they did this while ensuring our members had access to the COVID vaccine AND while deploying several medical providers and key members of their staff. Excellence In All We Do.

The 908 MSG has worked tirelessly to process over 300 taskings to the wing. They have also validated and processed dozens, if not hundreds, of changes to those taskings. TSgt Corey Hall and the entire 908 LRS team have been extraordinary, as have TSgt Tiana Lee and the 908 FSS team; all under the direction and leadership of Lt. Col. Doug Werner.  The 908 SFS has made sure everyone had the required firearm training, the 908 CES made sure required CBRNE training has been completed and the 908 APS will play a key role in making sure our airplanes are properly loaded for departure.  They all did this while deploying a large number of their own personnel from each organization.  Excellence In All We Do.

I’m especially proud of what the Maintenance and Operations Groups have accomplished – together. Their teamwork has been so strong that I can’t speak of one group alone, I have to speak of them collectively.  After the Secretary of the Air Force announced the 908 AW as the preferred alternative for the new MH-139 Formal Training Unit mission, it could have been easy to settle for the status quo.  Not our Maintenance Ops team!  Recently, while battling through innumerous challenges and with little notice, the 908 MXG prepared a primary and spare plane for deployment to support another wing. They executed this short notice task while conducting a very important and involved safety of flight check of all of our aircraft. Concurrent with these events, they were generating enough aircraft at precisely the right time for the OG to be above straight line with their semi-annual training requirements. In all my years of military aviation, I’ve never seen an operations group above straight line! The 908 OG has gone even beyond that, boldly developing new tactics and better ways to raise their readiness level for combat.  In what may be our last year in tactical airlift, the Maintenance Ops Team is raising the standard in AFRC for how to be ready for combat, delivering tactical airlift!  Excellence In All We Do. 

Everywhere I look, as General von Hoffman would say, we are exporting excellence.  And…working together we are stronger, living out our wing motto of Readiness in Strength.  Keep aiming higher 908th, everyone else is looking up to follow your lead.