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Revitalizing squadrons efforts cross borders

Members of the Revitalizing the Squadron team pose for a picture with Royal Canadian Air Force leadership in Ottawa, Ontario, Nov. 15, 2018. During a week-long workshop, Air Force members teamed with RCAF counterparts to discuss best practices and lessons learned for creating stronger squadrons in each service. (Courtesy photo by Royal Canadian Air Force Cpl Desiree T. Bourdon)

Members of the Revitalizing the Squadron team pose for a picture with Royal Canadian Air Force leadership in Ottawa, Ontario, Nov. 15, 2018. During a week-long workshop, Air Force members teamed with RCAF counterparts to discuss best practices and lessons learned for creating stronger squadrons in each service. (Courtesy photo by Royal Canadian Air Force Cpl Desiree T. Bourdon)

PENTAGON, Va. (AFNS) -- The Air Force’s Revitalizing Squadrons team recently joined together with their Royal Canadian Air Force, or RCAF, counterparts in Ottawa, Canada to collaborate and share best practices in their respective missions to strengthen squadrons across both Air Forces.

“I'm pleased to have met with our allies in the United States Air Force to discuss how they are also approaching the revitalization of their squadrons and to have shared our own work with them,” said Lieutenant-General Al Meinzinger, RCAF commander. “I look forward to continuing our work with them as well as strengthening our own squadrons through retention, training and the continued support of our personnel.”

While each of the Air Forces has their own unique challenges, the two share numerous similarities, notably the vision and passion of their senior leaders to continually improve their respective squadron cultures to increase readiness and capability for the future fight.

"Having worked in operational squadrons for years, I know first-hand the drive and dedication of our aviators. They are the lifeblood of the RCAF and the RCAF can only be successful in the delivery of modern air and space power if we have well-led, robust, healthy and inclusive squadrons. For that reason, I've made the squadron the focal point of my commander's NAVAIDS (talking points) as that is the point where all our efforts come together into action,” said Meinzinger.

Chief of Staff of the Air Force General David L. Goldfein launched the revitalizing the squadron efforts to improve the beating heart of the service, the squadron, where Air Force culture resides, innovation is born and where Airmen succeed in mission execution. While the effort is now well into the implementation phase with programs being implemented by commanders and Airmen, the process of learning is continuous.

"The special connection the U.S. Air Force has with our Canadian counterparts enables us to learn from each other's programs, share best practices and accelerate each of our efforts to achieve a greater focus on the mission, strengthen our leadership and esprit de corps and increase our family support. The week was packed with extremely productive collaboration between the teams that will make an immediate impact in our forces," Colonel Rusty Williford, U.S. Air Force Revitalizing Squadrons director.

The RCAF is experiencing similar pressures as the Air Force, stemming from the growing commercial airline industry and robust global economy, causing increased competition to recruit and retain highly-skilled talent between the military and civilian sectors. The RCAF effort to focus on the squadron and other tactical-level units is the centerpiece of a range of programs designed to maximize retention of the hard-earned experience and qualifications of its aviators.

"The RCAF faces attraction and retention challenges similar to our U.S. (Air Force) partners, so working together this past week provided a tremendous opportunity to share best practices and lessons learned,” Colonel Don McLeod, RCAF Retention coordinator. “The discussions were extremely valuable and have paved the way for more engagement in many different areas."

The initial meeting between the teams is just the beginning of the collaboration between the allies.

"It is always valuable to get an outside view on our efforts that can positively impact our Airmen and revitalize squadrons," Chief Master Sergeant John Hover, Revitalizing Squadrons chief.

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