Be the 'Wolf'

ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England (AFNS) -- There are three meetings I attend every week, and they're the most important meetings in my current job.

The first is wing stand-up, held three days a week, where we cover the status of our aircrew, pararescuemen, all 81 combat aircraft, the airfield, communications and logistics. Our mission is simple -- deliver precise combat power from the air -- and stand-up sets the tone. This, my most important meeting, lasts about 20 minutes, except when we fold in weekly intelligence updates, which adds 10 more.

My second important meeting is the newcomers welcome, held every Tuesday morning. There are no slides. The command chief and I speak to all base newcomers for only 30 minutes. It's important because everyone needs to "hear it from the horse's mouth" about how important the Liberty Wing is to the national security of the United States and NATO. We don't talk about DUIs, reflective belts or policy letters. We talk about the mission of the wing.

The final important meeting is on Thursdays, when I have lunch with our first-term Airmen center, or FTAC, graduates. After a few days of base indoctrination and adjustment, the command chief and I eat lunch with the FTAC'ers to, again, "hear it from the horse's mouth." I talk for about 10 minutes, and the remaining 50-minute lunch is spent answering questions and dispelling rumors. I want them to know exactly how to make a good first impression and how their individual actions impact the wing's mission.

During a recent FTAC lunch, I was asked a well-meant question by a young Airman, but, in the end, it was actually quite disappointing. Essentially, this Airman asked if there were any volunteer activities that the chief and I could point him toward so he could highlight himself for below-the-zone promotion consideration. Regrettably, this was not the first time I'd been asked a question about "extracurricular activities" that might be regarded for promotion or advancement. About half of his lunch-mate's ears perked up, while the other half had expressions of disdain. I waited a few seconds to respond.

My answer was simple: "STOP! Wrap yourself in the mission, and become the 'wolf.'" He looked at me confused, so I went on to explain. Volunteerism or extracurricular activities are exactly the things I am NOT looking for. Instead, I want this young American to dive, headfirst, into their new job. Become the very best Airman: skilled, motivated, optimistic and aggressive about getting the mission done. In my opinion, raising your right hand at basic military training satisfies the volunteerism category for a good couple of years.

As a young pilot, I was consumed by my profession. I spent weekends in our vault, flying the little desktop trainer with classified copies of the tactics manuals open next to the machine. I read countless weapons school papers and never passed up an opportunity to deploy with the squadron. While there were numerous pilots more talented than me, I would wager that I worked harder than the many of them. I also crushed my additional duty as the chief of squadron training. If the operations officer gave me a task, it got done, quick. And suddenly, I became a go-to officer. Unknowingly, I became one of the 'wolves.'

I told this young Airman about becoming the best in their flight, section, or squadron. The Airman who, when the squadron deploys, your name will be high on the list, because you know your craft, you work hard, you're a good teammate, and, if there's a crappy job to get done, the leadership can count on you to "git 'er done."

Harvey Keitel said in Pulp Fiction, "I'm Winston Wolfe. I solve problems."

Without a doubt, your section chief or first sergeant has an additional duty or project that has command interest -- like running the next retirement ceremony, leading the Air Force Assistance Fund campaign in the squadron or something like that. Those are important tasks that the commander needs to get done so he or she can continue to focus on the mission. Like flies that need to be swatted, the 'wolf' makes light of those tasks, alleviating the burden on the squadron.

Be the first Airman into upgrade training - the one who knows the tech orders and Air Force Instructions better than anyone. Always be willing to help with the toughest surgery, hardest broke jet, longest mission-planning session, rainiest guard posting, worst weekend shift or what have you. Be dependable, competent, efficient and aggressive. Understand how and where you fit into the wing's mission and why your job is important. Finally, be the Airman who FINDS A WAY TO 'YES.'

I firmly believe these ideas are being captured by our enlisted evaluation system changes. While the roll-out has been rocky, and we're far from perfect, I am incredibly pleased with the change toward recognizing 'wolves' earlier. At Lakenheath, we've made changes to our quarterly awards, prioritizing mission accomplishment over the other categories. We are looking to identify and promote 'wolves.'

Don't get me wrong, volunteering because you have time and you genuinely want to volunteer is awesome. Events like our annual awards party, which 1,000 people attended, the Air Force ball, with 950 attendees, the maintenance professional of the year banquet, with 1,200 people in attendance, our 9/11 remembrance ceremony, and more, are made possible because of volunteers. But volunteering because you need to round-out an awards package is not what we need. Spend that extra time learning more about your job.

Wing commanders coin 'wolves.' Squadron commanders promote 'wolves' to Senior Airman BTZ. There is no secret. It's simple: Crush your job, be the best in your section, flight or squadron. Evolve into the 'wolf', and, I guarantee, you will find what you seek.


Facebook Twitter
DYK: Aircraft have lifespans! Like humans, they require check-ups in the form of maintenance inspections to prolong their ability to fly. These "checks" prevent in-flight system failures which ultimately protects aircrew and passengers. Learn more from the 86th Maintenance Squadron at Ramstein Air Base, Germany on what it takes to correct issues so aircraft can stay airborne.
WATCH: United States Air Force pilots talk about the importance of Exercise Saber Strike 18 as they refuel over the Baltic Sea on June 18, 2018. Saber Strike 18 is a long-standing training exercise designed to enhance interoperability between the U.S. and our allies. The training focused on improving land and air operational capabilities between the U.S. and our NATO allies. (U.S. Air National Guard video by: Master Sgt. Wolfram M. Stumpf)
Check out some shots from yesterday's All-Star Armed Services Classic Championship softball game in Washington, D.C. This event, part of MLB’s All-Star Week, pays tribute to the men and women of the Armed Forces. Washington Nationals U.S. Army
Air Force and U.S. Army coed softball teams render military honors during the playing of the National Anthem during the All-Star Armed Services Classic Championship softball game, Washington, D.C., July 13, 2018. This event, part of MLB’s All-Star Week, pays tribute to the men and women of the Armed Forces. Washington Nationals
Great way to lead by example!
The United States Air Force is facing a pilot shortage. To help solve the challenge, the Aircrew Crisis Task Force was recently created to provide strategic direction and actionable recommendations to senior leaders on how to solve the aircrew manning crisis. FULL STORY: https://go.usa.gov/xUb3z
Your United States Air Force news: ✓ A B-52 crew assists in a search and rescue operation off the coast of Guam ✓ An Afghan pilot class graduates in the Czech Republic ✓ The Air Force is using innovative approaches to training pilots to make the process faster and more efficient
Now that’s how weathermen work! Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunters fly weather reconnaissance missions into Tropical Storm Chris and Tropical Storm Beryl. http://www.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/1569944/hurricane-hunters-fly-tropical-storms-beryl-chris/
The F-22 Raptor's combination of stealth, supercruise, maneuverability, and integrated avionics, coupled with improved supportability, represents an exponential leap in warfighting capabilities. The F-22 cannot be matched by any known or projected fighter aircraft. Maintaining these aircraft can involve a bit of a learning curve. Airmen at KadenaAirBase use past technology to help learn how to work with the undefeated Raptor. FULL STORY: http://www.kadena.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/1567295/hard-to-raptor-head-around/
Help us out! Can you caption this photo?
The B-52 Stratofortress has sniper pods that provide improved long-range target detection/identification and continuous stabilize surveillance for all missions, including close air support of ground forces. Air Force Global Strike Command crew members on a B-52 were able to spot a historic Pacific Island style canoe so that the U.S. Coast Guard could rescue the six passengers!
For the past 60 years, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, has continually helped us maintain a technological edge against our advarsaries. Together with the Air Force Research Laboratory - AFRL, a fusion of ideas is leading to newly highlighted innovations.
SOUND ON! Celebrate freedom with the sound of freedom! Happy Independence Day!
During #ASC18, our #Airmen asked: Where are we today on developing new space operators & where will we be in the ne… https://t.co/a3IGP2gpnt
During #ASC18, our #Airmen asked: How do you see multi-domain command & control integrating with our allies?… https://t.co/GzyNIWKaWg
RT @AFResearchLab: Our team is showing off how fantastic our booth is this year! So come meet us at #booth601 for knowledge on what we do a…
RT @US_Stratcom: Gen Hyten: “All of our oaths start the same way, we swear an oath to the #Constitution, to a set of ideals written down on…
#ICYMI: @SecAFOfficial discussed the significance of the 70th Anniversary of the #BerlinAirlift during a commemorat… https://t.co/MLP7m1A1d1
.@SecAFOfficial: In his time, Billy Mitchell was the advocate for the #USAF we need. Now it's up to us -- all of us… https://t.co/5nfk096dpw
.@SecAFOfficial: I want to thank all of you for what you are doing to build a more lethal & ready #USAF, to field t… https://t.co/dVv7UUM3RI
.@SecAFOfficial: Over the past 6 months, #USAF acquisition has striped 56 yrs out of planned schedules in our acqui… https://t.co/6FgjTGUeVn
.@SecAFOfficial: By December of this year we will have closed that gap to zero. #ASC18
.@SecAFOfficial: In September of 2016, the #USAF was short 4,000 maintainers. #ASC18
.@SecAFOfficial: We have an obligation to our countrymen. To tell them, as those before us have done in their time,… https://t.co/xYAyI4NPe5
.@SecAFOfficial: The #USAF we need to implement the National Defense Strategy has 386 Operational Squadrons. #ASC18 https://t.co/tuoryyPTXF
.@SecAFOfficial: So, What will it take? 386. #ASC18
.@SecAFOfficial: The #USAF is too small for what the nation expects of us. 312 Operational Squadrons is not enough. #ASC18
#LIVE: @SecAFOfficial talks the "Air Force We Need" during the 2018 Air, Space and Cyber Conference. #ASC18https://t.co/F67IXy9mQQ