October Commanders Corner

  • Published
  • By Col. Steven Clayton
  • 911th Operations Commander
October will be my last month with the 911th Airlift Wing. I've certainly enjoyed my two years here. I've been stationed at Maxwell, Keesler and Dobbins Air Force Bases and I can say, without any reservation, that Pittsburgh has been the most enjoyable place to live. The people here are the friendliest folks I've met and Pennsylvania is a beautiful state. I can certainly see why people never want to leave here.
Anyone with brains knows we have a good thing going and I understand why people don't want things to change. Yet, like it or not, change is inevitable. In fact, we are experiencing a period of rapid change right now. The Air Force is downsizing its manning. There was a time when the general consensus was that we had an excess of 100 C-130s in the Air Force. Today the C-130 is in short supply. If anyone told me a few years ago that the Reserves would be activated for two years, I would not have believed it. In the flying squadrons, we've changed the way we fly C-130 formations for the first time in at least 20 years, not to mention added Night Vision Goggle airdrop and assault landing operations to our bag-of-tricks. I could go on listing more changes, but the point is that change really is inevitable and it's certainly happening faster than I've ever seen it in my 23 year career.
Embrace the changes! Any change is painful, but the level of pain you will personally experience is equal to your willingness or unwillingness to adapt to those changes. My advice; see changes as opportunities to personally excel. Changes means the book (regulation) is either unwritten or at the most only the first draft has been released. That creates an environment where thoughtful, forward thinking people can have a major impact on the future way we do business. Those of us willing to embrace change will advance rapidly while those who see any change as unnecessary will be left behind wondering what happened.
Pittsburgh is great and I will miss living here and working with all of you. I've never experienced such positive working relationships across all the Wing functional areas as I've witnessed here. Everyone pulls together to do what's required to get the mission done. It's definitely a winning team. Just remember the Steelers' motto; Every day is game day. I'll always be thankful and proud of having been a commander in such a fine organization!