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Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision

Posted 10/19/2007   Updated 10/19/2007 Email story   Print story


Commentary by Senior Airman Steven R. Nehls
31st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron

10/19/2007 - AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy -- Andrew Carnegie once said, "Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results."

I have been very fortunate thus far in my short military career to be a member of the 31st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. I say this because there is no task given to us that we cannot accomplish, often against overwhelming odds we still stand up, complete the job and prepare for the next. 

It is an amazing sight to see aircraft that, by all reasonable expectations, would not fly if it weren't for everyone's efforts and contributions. You may ask, "How this can be?" It is quite simple ... teamwork. 

I am a weapons loader and I work alongside crew chiefs and specialists to maintain 48 assigned F-16 aircraft. I know full well the benefits of an all Joint Operation because I see it on a smaller scale every day. It would be a mistake, one with potentially enormous penalties, for our armed force not to move in that direction.

Every day that I am at work, I am reminded of the benefits of teamwork. It is much easier to accomplish the task when we all work together. The same can be said for the idea of Joint Operations. 

In order for me and my fellow Air Force maintainers to fully concentrate on fixing our jets when deployed to hostile locations, we need the peace of mind that we are protected from our enemies. 

Thanks to our sister services fighting out on the front line to keep us safe we can return the favor by supplying them with combat aircraft support at a moment's notice. When Army soldiers are pinned down and need air support we can deliver it to them only because they've kept our airfield safe. 

When Marines need bombs with on point precision we can deliver because they gave us the time to load. We are far beyond the benefits of moving toward Joint Operations, we are in the middle of it everyday.

The United States has been relying on the benefits of Joint Operations for over 100 years. In 1898, the Army, Navy and Marines all worked together in the Spanish-American war to respond to riots by pro Spanish "Voluntarios." 

The result was an American victory in only 109 days. From D-Day to the battle of Iwo Jima, WWII provided our young nation a chance to prove that when all of its Armed Forces work together we are indeed the greatest strength in the world. 

The Gulf War of the early 1990s gave the United States a chance to display Joint Operations like it had never been seen before. The combination of air dominance and land superiority allowed our nation to attack and contain an entire country with lighting speed and precision. 

History has long been the world's greatest teacher and the same can be said for our Air Force. It is learning from our past that has prepared us for the future.

The newest challenge in my squadron is Air Force Smart Operations 21 (AFSO 21). AFSO 21 is an Air Force idea that will allow us to work faster, smarter and more efficient.
I debate the benefits of our Air Force moving towards an AFSO 21 future on a daily basis. 

Oddly enough, I see the same benefits in Joint Operations that I see in AFSO 21. Using AFSO 21 processes we have learned to complete the mission by working more efficiently and pooling resources that were once their own entities. 

It has proven to be successful in the early stages and has led to noticeable differences in man-hour reductions. It is for this reason that I can clearly identify the benefits of all Joint Operations. By pooling the resources from combined services we can erase the boundaries that have made us are own separate entities. 

For example, the Air Force can benefit from the ground force muscle that the Army flexes every day. In turn, the Army can depend on the Air Force for its rapid global movement of troops and supplies. The United States has, without a doubt, the strongest national defense of any country in the world. 

To combine the forces under the idea of Joint Operations would lead to a more efficient, productive and dominate national defense.

Whether it is our storied history whispering to us from the past with its tales of glorious victories of a young nation or merely comparing it to successful operations on a smaller scale, the benefits of Joint Operations are too many to list. 

Teamwork is not a new idea, we learn it as children and when we join the military it is reinforced to a whole new level. It is that level of dedication to teamwork that sets us apart from the rest of the world and it is this concept that will allow us to excel in a military combined by Joint Operations.

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