ALL IN: A first sergeant’s perspective

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Brian Butler
  • 49th Force Support Squadron First Sergeant
Almost everywhere you go lately you see, hear and feel the "ALL IN" attitude that has been cultivated at Holloman in preparation for the upcoming Operational Readiness Inspection.

However, in the daily travels of a first sergeant, in the deepest, darkest corners of the installation, there are still some outliers who haven't bought into the concept.

As a first sergeant this is discouraging since it is our goal to be ready, to sustain the enlisted force enabling mission success, to maintain good order and discipline and most importantly, to posture the force to meet Air Force readiness demands.

A first sergeant doesn't walk away when things are discouraging. They step up to the challenge to help achieve mission success as should any Air Force Airman, civilian or dependant.

Our impending inspection is a huge challenge; there is no doubt about that. However, as often is the case, there are examples of modern day teams accomplishing great things in the face of adversity even when experts doubt their ability to perform.

I am not a huge college basketball fan but I am huge fan of teamwork and watching a team realize its potential. Virginia Commonwealth University -- this year's NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament underdog -- overcame great odds to make it to the Final Four of the tournament. Expert analysts predicted an early exit for VCU from the tournament; a team the experts considered an unworthy entrant. Odds makers estimated that VCU had a 1 in 1,000 chance of making it to the Final Four. Even against the seemingly insurmountable odds, the team was able to pull together and achieve great success, far surpassing the experts' expectations.

The 49th Wing is currently facing a similar challenge in this upcoming ORI. Our wing has not been inspected in years and our experts, the Inspector General, has told our coach, Col. David Krumm, 49th Wing Commander, that due to our inexperience, we are a huge underdog, much like the VCU team. Wings that have not been inspected over a large period of time fail 95 percent of the time on their first inspection.

Our leader, however, sees our ability to pull together and recognizes the talent we have on this base as he responded to the experts by stating, "You're looking at that other 5 percent." That's us. The members of this wing -- the exceptional 5 percent.

VCU and the 49th Wing, two completely different types of teams pitted in similar situations, both facing a huge challenge that can only be tackled with teamwork.

In order to ensure the wing is successful, we need to fill those dark corners with the "ALL IN" attitude.

To do this, we all need to reflect on the feeling of inspiration that initially compelled us to answer our call to service or to support those who chose to serve this great nation and the United States Air Force.

If you take the time to look around our installation, you will notice the correct elements are in place; we have strong leadership in key positions, all members of Team Holloman share the same goal of passing the ORI; the rules and standards are clearly defined; and there are clear action plans for nearly all conceivable scenarios the IG could throw our way.

The "ALL IN" attitude is the last component required to make our team strong. Our coach, Colonel Krumm, similar to the head coach of VCU, has been a tenacious role model; out front ensuring all levels of leadership provide the tools necessary to succeed.

Team Holloman has practiced for this inspection, and perfected our craft through numerous Operational Readiness Exercises. I believe that everyone has the knowledge, skill and abilities necessary to succeed, but what will distinguish us as champions will be our attitudes.

This in mind, I challenge every member of Team Holloman to reach into the dark corners with an infectious "ALL IN" attitude, motivating one another to display the 49th Wing's full combat capability once the spotlight is on come April 25.