Mission success requires collective effort

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Jeffrey W. Nelson
  • 58th Airlift Squadron
During the past couple of months, members of the 58th Airlift Squadron flew 16 operational airlift missions in support of Air Mobility Command and United States Transportation Command. As I think about the amount of support required to complete these missions successfully, I realize the idea of being appreciative of all the people and units involved in a successful airlift mission is often lost.

From the life support technician who teaches the recurring life support training class and ensures the life support equipment on the aircraft is in operable condition, to the combat arms instructor who teaches the refresher small arms training class, to the survival specialist who teaches the survival refresher class, to the load teams who help load the cargo, to the medical technician who ensures the aircrew are current for their immunizations, to the maintenance team who ensures the aircraft is mission capable - the list of people and organizations that have a part in ensuring successful accomplishment of the airlift mission is endless. All of these individuals do their part to ensure that when the Commander in Chief decides to execute a particular action requiring the rapid movement of cargo and personnel, the mission will be successful.

As a training unit, the 58th AS is not normally involved in operational airlift missions although we do normally maintain some aircrew members in a worldwide mission ready status. With the effort of many individuals, we recently expanded the number of aircrew in this status and they were able to fly operational airlift missions. I was lucky enough to fly one of these missions and learned I am more appreciative of the airlift crews, the command and control personnel, and the enroute support personnel for their efforts to accomplish the airlift mission.

Having spent my career in the airlift world, I fondly remember the places I've been and many of the missions I've flown. What I re-discovered recently is the odd work hours, crossing multiple time zones, shelf checks at the local Base Exchange, looking for food at all hours, the fun hours of cruise over the North Atlantic, and running into friends I hadn't seen in years. Having been out of the airlift world for a few years, I forgot some of the "fun" of the mobility lifestyle. My recent experience made me more appreciative of the mobility crews executing their missions around the world.

While my experiences deal with mobility aircrews, my appreciation of all those involved in accomplishing the mission is transferable to all career fields. Every career field has other units they depend on to accomplish their mission. I encourage everyone to take some time every now and then to thank all the personnel who are involved in successfully accomplishing our collective job and be appreciative of their actions and support.