Fly, Fight, Win…not just a catchy slogan

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Shawn Anger
  • 7th Fighter Squadron
In August 2008, Air Force senior leaders made the most recent change to our mission statement adding the word "win" and simplifying the overall text. A few years later, we returned to our roots by adopting "Aim High...Fly-Fight-Win" as our official motto. These words are incredibly simple, but they remind us what our service was, is, and should always be about. They also provide some clarity for those times when someone asks that famous question, "sir, what would you say you do?" and a vision for how we should train.

For some, the word training conjures up hours of computer-based training or long to-do lists just before a deployment. For others, it's a reminder of basic military training, job-specific training. But for many Airman here at Holloman, we wouldn't say what we do every day is training. However, virtually every Airman assigned to the 49th Wing is preparing them daily for deployment. From force support, to civil engineer, to maintenance squadron, to operations- we are all sharpening the skills we will need
while deployed downrange.

In the 7th Fighter Squadron, training is what it's all about. During the average week, we fly two "goes" of 10-12 jets every day Monday through Thursday and one "go" on Friday. On every sortie we fly, there are "blue forces" and "red forces" that we pit against each other to simulate the latest global threats. These missions typically take four or more hours to plan, four hours to brief and execute, and somewhere between three to six hours to effectively debrief identify lessons learned. An average day on the flying schedule is 8-10 hours long...and that's before additional duties are even considered.

The "Fly-Fight-Win" mentality drives us to not only execute the minimum, but to go far beyond what is simply required turning a 10-hour day into a 12-hour day just to pull a few more lessons from that day's mission or coming in on the weekend to plan a new mission that challenges everyone in the squadron versus repeating last week's mission. We've come to understand that to whom much is given, much is required.

While sequestration forces us to squeeze every dollar and pinch every penny, don't think of it as "doing more with less," but rather think of it as "do the best with what you've got." Be innovative, think outside the box, and shed those things that cost time or money yet provide no training value. Your training is critically important, and you must focus on it each and every day. I'm counting on it, and the hundreds, maybe thousands of airman, you'll deploy with are counting on it too. Aim high forty-niners...Fly-Fight-Win!