A year at March

"View from the top" is a bi-monthy column for The Beacon newspaper at March Air Reserve Base written by 452nd Air Mobility Wing Commander Col. Karl McGregor.  Official photo is by Staff Sgt. Paul Duquette.

"View from the top" is a bi-monthy column for The Beacon newspaper at March Air Reserve Base written by 452nd Air Mobility Wing Commander Col. Karl McGregor. Official photo is by Staff Sgt. Paul Duquette.

MARCH AIR RESERVE BASE, Calif. -- As we roll through the early spring, I look back on my first year serving the wing with great satisfaction and look forward to new challenges still waiting to be overcome. Last year, our focus was obviously the compliance inspections and NORI, which were highly successful. While we were planning and prosecuting the inspection cycle, we were also recapitalizing multiple buildings and adding space and furniture to places where it was desperately needed. We also submitted a number of project requests that will improve the quality of life for our full-time staff and reservists as funding becomes available at the end of the fiscal year and next year.

As you read these lines, the new small arms range is under construction and a multitude of buildings have design funds or the actual remodeling is in progress. Additionally, there is funding to design and build a new tower and base operations.

As always, we are on the time line for our flying hour program as Operations generates a mixed bag of missions that provide the full spectrum of currency activities.

Over the year, I've been continually impressed with the performance and appearance of our aircraft. Our maintenance forces' pride is obvious; we have some of the best and healthiest aircraft in the fleet. We've volunteered and deployed to Turkey, Afghanistan and Iraq in record numbers. The members we've sent have gone forward as highly knowledgeable, professional Airmen, and returned with letters of appreciation and kudos from their deployed chains of command.

This wing has managed to balance the numerous requirements, hold tight to its culture and maintain morale at a consistently high level. I believe a part of the reason that morale stays so high is that the work is so meaningful to the security of the country and the important job being done by our support areas. From the club to lodging, finance to family services, fitness center to our BOS contractor, there is a prevalent service atmosphere and a willingness to work hard to make the base a better place. I am truly grateful for that caring attitude.

This year, we were a deployment machine, and I'm looking forward to continuing to deploy at sustainable levels even after we complete this AEF cycle. We will carefully monitor our volunteer rate and the all important metrics that are an indicator of our ability to deploy. We will continue to use the scorecard concept to gain better visibility over our internal processes. This includes: OPR/EPR timeliness; catching up on awards and decorations for deserving members; accelerating the line of duty determinations through the system; keeping medical readiness statistics above standards; bringing the government credit card delinquencies below the command goal; and reducing the number of members who are overdue for Fit-to-Fight to near zero.

The intent is for the 452nd Air Mobility Wing to move squarely to the front of the pack in Fourth Air Force and Air Force Reserve Command in measured goals. These goals mirror the command goals and, more importantly, directly correlate to us taking care of our members. I would be remiss if I allowed a missing OPR or decoration to negatively influence the outcome of a promotion or PEP board. I believe we owe quick answers to our members when they have medical issues and we should give those members every chance to get control when there are financial issues.

Finally, the fitness program can have a significant negative impact on a career if not taken seriously. It would be unfair to the member if the information on consequences were a surprise. I ask every member to look in the mirror and decide it's worth devoting some time toward a healthy lifestyle that will lead to passing scores on the Fit-to-Fight test. As we measure, I will hold the squadron commanders accountable for their ability to input correct data in a timely manner and their ability to stay within the thresholds defined as acceptable. Of course, ultimately we are each responsible for our own readiness and commitment to maintaining that readiness.

I realize, as a wing, we still have room for improvement, so we will continue to work hard to improve our organization and our organizational processes. We work on the largest base in AFRC with people who care about the quality of the work they perform. We have a relevant mission with leadership at every level that is truly engaged in the improvement process and we have a community that fully supports us. In the largest sense, we are merely fine tuning an already magnificent machine.

I know we are in for another satisfying year of Reserve service and I look forward to seeing you personally in your work centers, at the track or fitness center and during the many activities planned throughout the summer. I will be deploying to the theater in the late summer and Col. Mary Aldrian will be commanding in my absence. I know she, along with Command Chief Master Sergeant Ericka Kelly, will provide you great leadership and we will continue to progress and improve.

Keep that 452nd machine rolling!

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