The Two E'S: 'EMPOWERMENT AND ENCOURAGEMENT!'

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- It doesn't seem possible to me that it's been approximately 18 months since I had my first opportunity to serve as the Launch Decision Authority here on the Eastern Range -- and that was for MUOS-2, which launched July 19, 2013, about five weeks after I had the fantastic opportunity to assume command of the 45th Space Wing.

Since that time, we have been able to prove -- time and time again -- that we are, indeed, the "World's Premier Gateway to Space," and I am so proud to be a part of this magnificent team.

I really wish you could see the (almost) unbelievable amount of teamwork, communication - and trust -  displayed by all of "Team Patrick-Cape" that is poured into these missions from infancy to liftoff. It's hard to describe.

What really warms my heart - and rekindles my Air Force memory bank - is the way our younger Airmen (the future of our business) respond to challenges posed by their leaders.

I've been in the shoes of these young Airmen, and benefited greatly from having a boss believe in my capabilities.

I like to call it "The Two E'S: 'EMPOWERMENT AND ENCOURAGEMENT!"

Quick story: When I was a Captain, I was called into my Group Commander's office and given a task to draw up and implement. At the time, I was working as Chief, operations training, 21st Operations Support Squadron, Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.

When I asked which direction he wanted me to go, I was told that choice was mine.

What? Really?

To be honest, I was a little stunned at first, and then later very proud that this senior leader - and someone I so much looked up to -- had the confidence in my abilities and those of my team, to "make this happen."

As it turns out, the "direction" we chose to take was so successful a route that it became the "new normal" for Air Force Space Command at that time.

In my mind, the credit wasn't so much mine or my team, but it was that of my commander, who personally provided us the opportunity to excel.

I've never, ever, forgot how that felt, and I'm sure our young Airmen feel the same way when given the chance.

Trust me, I have learned from both ends of the spectrum that the power of EMPOWERING AND ENCOURAGING your teammates can make all the difference in the world to a successful mission - and even more importantly -- to the future success of the Airmen (Big A) who work there.

Stay Focused Sharks!