Can do, will do

  • Published
  • By Col. John Oates
  • Commander, 97th Operations Group
Before my arrival here at Altus Air Force Base, I was well aware of the innovative attitude that is prevalent in everything that comes from this wing.

This attitude stems from the positive motivation that resides at Altus. Everyone is on board with the wing-wide effort to accomplish our mission and to do it well. There is a constant desire to do things in a better, more efficient manner at all levels. I continue to be impressed every day by the attempts of our Airmen to always say "yes" when they are presented with a challenge of any size.

The ability to say "yes" comes from two things: thorough knowledge of the rules and of the system within which we work. In order to function in a military environment, Airmen have to stay within the lines. These lines are a combination of Air Force Instructions, major command, numbered Air Force and local policies and the directions from our supervisors. At first glance, all of these rules can be overwhelming, but in all cases they are designed to keep us safe as we execute our mission.

By "knowledge of the system," I mean that we all have to understand the construct of the environment in which we work. This is the part which impresses me the most about the 97th Air Mobility Wing. We don't accept mediocrity or "no" for an answer. Our desire to excel in our jobs drives us to better understand our system. If there is a better way of doing business, we will search it out and make it happen within the lines.

Keep in mind, however, that in some cases the best way of doing things might include a "no" answer. If this is the case, and we have reached conclusion on the matter, then we refocus on our mission and get back to work.

A continued long-term application of this attitude will get recognized at all levels and will reap countless rewards. There is an expectation of excellence of all things that come out of Altus AFB. Recently, we achieved wide recognition and support for our efforts because of this attitude and our future endeavors will no doubt be met with a positive perception based on our track record. Wouldn't we all want to be recognized as the "get it done" crowd instead of those associated with the "sideways chicken bone in the throat of results" crowd?

Several recent examples of success that bolster our reputation here are: "Best Tanker Wing" at last summer's AMC Rodeo competition, the across the board "Excellent" results from last fall's Unit Compliance Inspection and the recognition (and extra money) we all garnered for our success in the past end of year annual budget drill.

This simple principle is an enduring trait here in the mighty 97th, so much so that it is proudly displayed on the Operations Group patch. We "Can Do ... Will Do ..." and we will do it right!