Attitude (with a capital A)
By By Lt. Col. Erik Bowman, 45th Launch Group Commander
/ Published June 24, 2011
Patrick AFB, Fla. -- What's faster than a speeding Atlas? More powerful than a Falcon 9? Able to leap over desks to take down an unbadged intruder in a single bound? It's a bird, it's a plane, it's former 45th Launch Group Commander, Col. (Ret.) Scott Henderson. Well, that's exactly what Colonel Henderson did while sitting on battlestaff at the Command Post during the March 2007 IG inspection - he tackled the intruder (fortunately no one got hurt). That's attitude with a capital "A!"
The biggest difference between success and failure in an IG inspection is not skill, it's not knowledge - it's attitude. Attitude is all about taking the inspection (and prep) seriously. It's about preparing meticulously, looking beyond the surface and delving two to three layers deep to find those hidden problems. It's about focusing more on prep and less on non-critical day-to-day tasks, yet never jeopardizing the core mission to do so. And most importantly, it's about a sense of urgency as we execute during mission, exercises and other preparations. We should have a swagger when the IG comes, knowing we're ready, with an attitude that says "Bring it on!" We may be tempted to say we're too busy with our core mission to prepare, thinking that we'll focus more as it gets closer. The problem is we don't know exactly when it is going to hit-inspections are "limited notice." We'll have less than 30 days once the official notification comes. This sense of urgency has to come from the top. Commanders and supervisors need to set the example, because if we don't, it's certain that our Airmen won't. This means explicitly blocking time on our busy schedules to support exercises and dig into programs. Many of us are already doing this, but if everyone does, there will be no question we'll succeed.
It's been my honor and privilege to serve with all the members of the 45th SW. Although I'll be off to my next assignment in July, I'll be cheering from afar as you ace the next IG inspection. Go Sharks!