base information

Commander maps out Gunfighter vision

Col. John D. Bird II, 366th Fighter Wing commander

Col. John D. Bird II, 366th Fighter Wing commander

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- Happy New Year Gunfighters. I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and come back to work this year with your batteries recharged because we have a lot on our plate for 2010.

Earlier this fall all the commanders in the wing got together at an offsite location to re-examine our mission, vision, motto and creed statements. Our goal was to capture what Mountain Home AFB does with some simple slogans everyone could remember to serve as a roadmap guiding our efforts in the coming year. I would like to share with you the results of those efforts because I think they clearly define what we are trying to accomplish here.

Our mission can be summed up with three statements:
1. Develop and deploy combat ready Airmen
2. Take care of Gunfighters
3. Protect and enhance our resources

Deploying combat ready Airmen, whether we send an entire fighter squadron or one individual on an AEF, is really job number one for the 366th Fighter Wing. It's the reason we exist ... to provide combat power for our nation. Taking care of Gunfighters is our "people" based approach that includes not only taking care of active duty members, but also their families. If we take care of our people, they will get the mission done. Finally, we owe it to the taxpayers to protect and enhance our resources. This mission includes everything from long range civil engineering planning for the base all the way to individual Airmen maintaining aircraft or government vehicles. We are custodians for quite a bit of hardware and infrastructure around this base. We must work together to preserve these assets for future generations and missions.

These three simple statements capture just about everything we do in the 366th FW. Each and every one of us is connected to these missions regardless of where we work or what we do. I need you to be able to draw a distinct line between what you do and the mission of this wing. I guarantee that you perform an important role in accomplishing these missions. Understanding your connection to these missions shows how important you are in the success or failure of this wing.

People sometimes struggle with the concept of a vision statement, but it's not really all that complicated. A vision statement is supposed to define a desired end state for your organization. If everything went exactly as you planned, what would your organization look like in the future? Our vision statement is simple and elegant: "An innovative Gunfighter team -- providing combat power for our nation from an installation of excellence."

All of the commanders agree that "innovation" is a key word for the Gunfighters. Our culture of innovation dates all the way back to Vietnam when our maintainers figured out a way to hotwire gunpods onto our F-4s, and we achieved four gun kills in the first two weeks earning the nickname "Gunfighters" for our wing. As previously discussed, providing combat power for our nation is job number one. We will continue to provide combat power in the form of aircraft and people for many years to come. Finally, we recognize what a valuable place Mountain Home AFB and its associated range and airspace complex is for our country. This base and the airspace we fly in are simply national treasures. If things go according to plan, we will continuously improve this place until it is ultimately recognized throughout the Air Force as a true installation of excellence.

At the offsite, we also took a look at mottos and creeds. Some favor one over the other, but the consensus was that there is room for both a motto and a creed in this wing. Based on our long tradition, dating back to World War II, the motto of this wing remains, "Fortune Favors the Bold." Good things happen when we have the courage to innovate and continuously improve our processes.

There is also a mystique about Mountain Home AFB. We are a bit isolated, surrounded by high desert plains complete with coyotes, tumbleweeds and sweeping mountain vistas. Idaho is cowboy country for sure, and you just can't help letting a little bit of that mystique influence your culture. To capture that part of our collective personality, we thought it was appropriate to keep our Gunfighter Creed of "Ride hard, shoot straight and always speak the truth."

I hope this gives everyone a clearer picture of our mission, vision, motto and creed. It's an incredible honor to serve with each and every one of you every day. I look forward to the New Year with great anticipation. Together we will continue the "string of consecutive miracles" that makes Mountain Home a special place to live and work.