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January Commander's View: Rumor Control

  • Published
  • By Col. Dave Bakos
  • 146th Airlift Wing
Happy New Year 146th Airlift Wing!  I hope you enjoyed a wonderful holiday season with your families and loved ones.  2014 was a fantastic year and I sincerely thank you for your continued service to your local communities, the state, and this great nation.  Now we look forward to an even better 2015 and I would like to take a moment to share with you a few thoughts about the current state of affairs and the road ahead.

I am fully aware communication within the wing remains a top concern.   With 1,200 wing members it is a constant challenge to provide information and the important messages to each of you.  In an effort to aid this process, I am reinstituting a rumor control letter that will be distributed as often as necessary to relay current and future events as well as address rumors that may be circulating throughout the wing.  I will try to keep it short.

I have made it one of my commander goals to get in front of each of you through my Town Hall meetings.  This is an important opportunity to for me to get up in front of the squadrons, look our members in the eye...and communicate.  Chief Gregory is also working hard at this through the various enlisted calls she is holding.  These get-togethers are great for our folks and I believe they are critically important in aiding our wing move forward.  It is the right thing to do...and I really enjoy the opportunities.

The 146th Airlift Wing is incredibly fortunate to have a modern, state of the art, C-130J-model  fleet, which our active duty brothers and sisters are flying, and are continuing to acquire. This is a great "insurance policy", and it will assure we remain relevant and needed as an integral part of the total force.

Selective Retention is here to stay. The Adjutant General is a big believer in this process.  Most folks do not understand the who, what, and whys of the program.  There is not enough room here to address the finer details so I ask you to please discuss this with your respective leadership.  It is important to understand it is not a punishment or reprisal.  It is simply a Force Development tool to shape the wing in a healthy manner.  All wing members over 20 years of service get looked at.  There are multiple Red Flags each of them should be aware of.  Among them is continued growth as an airman.  Growth includes but is not limited to, AFSC training and skill level, PME, PT pass/fail, etc.  This "look" is conducted within the 146th Airlift Wing at the Force Development Council as well as at the state level during their statewide Selective Retention meeting.  Bottom line is each of us has the opportunity to address these items and make certain they are not an issue when the two different groups meet for Selective Retention review.

Now, I want to talk for a moment about PT. This is an incredibly sensitive subject.  I get it.  Here is how it was explained to me by my bosses, and I want to repeat it back to you.  PT is a product driven by AFIs, and we do not have the luxury of deciding which AFIs we follow, and which ones we don't, simply because we disagree with them.  But, let me assure you of something - my priority is not, whether you pass or fail.  My desire is for you to be healthy.  It is more than simply working out, wellness is a lifestyle of eating healthy and living a balanced life.

It is better that you take your test even at the risk of failure.  In other words, being non-current is worse than a failure on your PT.  Failure to remain current will result in not getting paid. There is a new program in place to help members succeed in Fitness Testing.  It is called "Take Charge of Your Fitness".  They meet every UTA.  This program was created by our Director of Psychological Health, Andrea McGovern in association with the First Sergeant's Council.  This program provides health and diet tips, personal trainer advice and moral support.  The Hercules Weight Challenge begins this UTA.  All are welcome!

The last thing I need to talk about is an uncomfortable topic. But it is VERY important that we ALL understand and address it. There has been a lot of attention focusing on sexual assault and sexual harassment both within the media and the DoD.  We MUST do our part in taking a serious look at ourselves, to really re-assess our work places.  This problem continues to haunt our military because so many people think they couldn't possibly be part of the problem. So, I request each of you to please step back and ask yourself if your work environment is a comfortable one for you and for those who work with you.  Are you doing ALL you can to make sure no one is made to feel out of place or awkward?  We need to lean forward on this issue and err on the safe side of all behavior or conversation which may offend.

The upcoming year of 2015 holds great promise and potential, and the members of this wing never fail to deliver. I thank you for your loyalty, hard work and integrity. My office door is always open, and until next time, blue skies...

Dave Bakos
Commander, 146th Airlift Wing