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Smart sponsors = PCS success

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- You only get one chance to make a first impression and we all know how lasting that can be. So, as we approach one of the busiest PCS times of the year, I want all leaders to emphasize the importance of an effective Airmen sponsorship program.

Some of you may have had very helpful sponsors upon your arrival to locations, while others may have had negative experiences. Regardless of what has happened in the past, I want us focused on ensuring the Airmen and their families coming into our Shark family receive the best reception possible.Think back; what would you or your family have liked to be done differently or better? Then just do that for them.

Ideally, we would like to know well in advance when an Airman and their family is going to arrive here. The fact is that in most cases this is not possible. The complexities of the personnel assignment system, changing priorities and emerging requirements here and elsewhere make advanced sponsorship the exception rather than the rule. We cannot control that, but what we can control is how we take care of our people once they do arrive.

Therefore, our sponsorship program must be the best it can be. The mission does not change; the goal is to present a newcomer with a professional, first-class introduction into this community. Remember, the key aspect of superior sponsorship is understanding the needs of the newcomer.

Do the little things; make and stay in contact, follow through, ask questions, be open, honest and positive, and, most importantly, listen to what they're saying and try to determine their special needs or interests.

Because most people want - and greatly appreciate - much-needed help when they move to a new location, a good sponsorship program also serves as a mission enhancer. In helping our newcomers relax, settle in and get their personal issues settled, we enable them to contribute more quickly to the mission.

It's a win-win situation for all of us.

Being a good sponsor is not a difficult task; it is nothing more than being a good friend or neighbor. A good wingman.

Not only that, it's the right thing to do.

Thanks again for all you do.