Strengthening Your Team, Supporting Your Family

  • Published
  • By Lt. Gen. Richard Scobee

Heroes of the Air Force Reserve,

Being part of an outstanding team is an amazing feeling. I am honored to be a part of this incredible Air Force Reserve team. You, our Airmen, are highly skilled individuals, and your abilities are magnified when you work as a team. A strong team can accomplish nearly anything.

I’ve witnessed the achievements of many great teams. I observed one such team several years ago, during my time at Carswell. That particular year, the wing received a significant increase in flying hours. While this was for the benefit of the unit, it caused unforeseen challenges for the maintenance group and, subsequently, the operations group.

Aircraft are required to undergo certain maintenance after a set amount of flight time. Because of the additional flying hours, the wing’s jets required more frequent maintenance than anticipated. Before too long, maintenance requirements were piling up faster than they could be completed, and the wing’s mission capable rate dropped.

The operations and maintenance groups realized this was unsustainable. So they sat down and created a utilization plan to synchronize flying and maintenance schedules based on the higher flying hour rate.

The two groups then worked as a team to execute the plan. The results were phenomenal. The wing’s mission capable rate, which had been in the 70% range, skyrocketed to 96%. They were able to fly more sorties than ever, providing additional training for all the wing’s Airmen, and the synchronized schedule was more cost-effective, saving tax dollars.

The cohesion and effectiveness of the operations-maintenance team was visible to the entire wing. It was clear that they had achieved a great success and that their success was a result of their teamwork.

Everyone in the Air Force is a member of a team. The type of team and our role within the team may vary during our career, but we will always be part of a team.

However, effective teams don’t just happen. They need to be developed. Team building is an ongoing process and is necessary at every level of an organization. It increases cohesion and collaboration among the team’s members. Team building strengthens relationships and helps facilitate unity of purpose.

Once a quarter, I hold a team building event for the Air Force Reserve Command headquarters senior leaders. Many of you recently participated in team building exercises as part of your unit’s resiliency tactical pause. In addition to these formal events, every Airman can improve his or her team simply by being a good wingman and by interacting with and helping teammates.

When a team truly comes together they evolve into something more: they become a family.

The Air Force Reserve has been my family for decades.

The December holiday season is a traditional time for family get-togethers. The command chief and I would like to be at every unit’s drill weekend this month to personally thank you for all your hard work and dedication over the past year and to thank your families for supporting you.

Unfortunately, we can’t be at every wing, but we know you are each a part of an amazing team and an incredible family. We know we can rely on you and your fellow Airmen to take care of each other. Therefore, we encourage you to reach out to your brothers and sisters in the Air Force Reserve. Let them know they are part of your family and you’re proud to serve alongside them. Be there for them if they need you, and know you can turn to them when you need a friend or a helping hand.

And remember, no matter who you are or where you live, you are part of my family – the Air Force Reserve family.