Long Road to "Outstanding"

  • Published
  • By Col. Tom Schluckebier
  • 66th Air Base Wing commander
Sometimes, when people work hard to improve, they get impatient and discouraged. Progress can be slow and sometimes imperceptible. There may be set-backs and new, unforeseen challenges. 

As I prepared to write this article, I took a look at several old e-mails and briefings related to preparations for our upcoming Operational Readiness Inspection. Most of these documents were almost two years old. I was amazed and incredibly impressed by two things. 

First, we've come a long, long way. Two years ago, a few of our operations were already quite impressive, but in other areas, we were working on the basics. Fast forward to the present, and it's obvious we've mastered the basics and much, much more. The level of sophistication, agility, discipline and precision we have reached in all areas has taken a quantum leap. 

We're good -- very good. Actually, we're "Outstanding." 

That leads me to the second reason I'm so impressed -- no one quit. No one said, "Satisfactory is good enough for Hanscom." Why? I found the answer in our new Airman's Creed: 

The Airman's Creed 
I am an American Airman. 
I am a Warrior.
I have answered my nation's call. 

I am an American Airman.
My mission is to fly, fight and win. 
I am faithful to a proud heritage,
A tradition of honor,
And a legacy of valor. 

I am an American Airman, 
Guardian of freedom and justice, 
My nation's sword and shield, 
Its sentry and avenger. 
I defend my country with my life.

I am an American Airman:
Wingman, Leader, Warrior.
I will never leave an Airman behind, 
I will never falter,
And I will not fail.

We refused to falter, we refused to fail, we held true to our warrior ethos, and we became "Outstanding." As the ORI approaches, we have much to be proud of. We improved immensely while continuing to perform our day-to-day mission. 

Some of our Airmen -- many of whom trained side-by-side with us in the past two years -- went off to war, served honorably and admirably, and will perform with equal prowess during the ORI.

It's fitting that we'll welcome many of these warriors back home on June 22 at the Hanscom Heroes Homecoming, which will also be our official post-ORI celebration day. June will be a great month for Team Hanscom -- we've worked hard, we are ready and I'm looking forward to joining you with the Airman's Creed in one hand, and the ORI report in the other, as together we say farewell to the Air Force Materiel Command Inspector General team at the end of our journey on the long road to "Outstanding."