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January Commander's View

  • Published
  • By Col. Dave Bakos
  • 146AW
Happy New Year! I hope the Holiday Season treated everyone well. A new year provides many things but I find one of the most important of these to be...a reverent look back on the passing year to help frame the proper perspective on the one ahead. What lays ahead for the 146th Airlift Wing you might ask? That is always a valid and relevant question and we can only answer with certainty to the things we know about...deployments, inspections, exercises, and training events to name a few. Life in the military, especially in the Air National Guard, is never that easy or predictable, though. As the modern day era Minuteman, we have been and always will be expected to respond to the unexpected. 2014 will be no different. Natural or man-made, there will always be something challenging us as "citizen soldiers" to quickly and resolutely respond. We will be asked to "carry the water" for our respective communities, our state, or the nation as a whole. I have no doubt we will rise to the occasion as we have always done...with that special Channel Islands panache.

On Friday, 3 January, the wing's senior staff will get together for the wing's strategic planning meeting. What happens at one of those you may ask? It is an opportunity for the senior leadership to get together to discuss our both our short and long-term plans for the wing as a whole. The leadership has been tasked to bring their topics for discussion...among which will be our collective vision for what and where we expect the 146th AW to be in the future. Our job as leadership is to always put all of you in the best possible position to accomplish the mission. We need to make certain we are always executing, in an exemplary manner, our Design Operations Capability (DOC) statement. Our DOC statement is basically who we are and what we is what everybody outside this wing expects us to be and do. In addition, we will be looking at opportunities to add to our capabilities and mission sets. The TAG has been very good at communicating his vision and expectations for the California Air National Guard. One of his big priorities is Defense Support to Civil Authorities (DSCA). There are plenty of areas for us to expand our already impressive resume of mission sets in this area but we need to be smart, deliberate, and somewhat cautious about which areas and what missions fit our location and our people best.

Other areas for discussion will include morale and espirit de corps, demographics & cultural, finance, technology, recruiting and retention, and regulation and inspection. I am writing this before the event occurs, but I want all of you to understand and know we will be working on these types of issues with the best interests of all wing personnel. I understand and commiserate with the "uncertainty" involved with military service, especially as a Guardsman. There are plenty of things that fall under that category...i.e. furloughs, budget cuts, sequestration, etc. I certainly do not take your concerns lightly.
My almost three decades of work within this wing has taught me a few things. An important lesson I learned is that obedience alone may get a job done, but it probably does not inspire commitment to the job. It does not necessarily inspire pride in the work or the product or a passion for excellence. These come when followers feel they are part of a well-led team. And this comes when they respect their leaders, and when they, in turn, believe that they are respected BY their leaders. It comes when they trust their leaders, and when they believe they are trusted by their leaders. They have to know they are VALUED. Respect for leaders by followers cannot be mandated; it must be earned. It is my job and the job of your collective leadership to earn that very thing.
Once again, Happy New Year...I am wishing each and every one of you a safe, healthy, happy, and prosperous 2014.

Blue Skies,
Col Bakos