Leadership gives vector to company grade officers
By 2nd Lt. Jonathan Simmons , 21st Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published October 20, 2008
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- "'What do I do now?' said the Lt." This is a sentiment that many new company grade officers are familiar with, either through personal experience or from looking around at the water cooler. On Oct. 7, looking around, looking up, looking back and looking inside took on a whole new meaning at the 21st Space Wing's CGO call.
CGOs from all over the 21st Space Wing's local units gathered at the Club ball room to learn about heritage, discipline and being a good wingman from a leadership perspective as part of Air Force Space Command's Year of Leadership.
Gail Whalen from the Peterson Air and Space Museum kicked off the packed event by focusing on September's YOL emphasis on heritage. She briefed on the 21st SW's lineage and Peterson AFB's history, showing that it's important to know and remember where we've come from.
I learned a lot from this briefing about how the "21st" name was born during the World War II era in 1942. It was interesting to see how the "21st" travelled around the world before coming to the 21st SW here.
Maj. Stacey Vetter, 21st SW deputy staff judge advocate, followed up with an entertaining and informative presentation on the importance of looking inside in terms of self discipline and looking around in terms of holding each other accountable as good wingmen. She emphasized that our subordinates are looking at us with the expectation that leaders should set a solid example, and she pointed out that they will follow whatever example we set, whether positive or negative.
Major Vetter quoted President George Washington, telling us that "Discipline is the soul of an Army." And, in our case she said "Discipline in basic tasks is the foundation of the whole Air Force."
"The purpose of discipline is to harness the capabilities of individuals to the needs of the group," Major Vetter said.
I think it's important to look at discipline as not merely something that's imposed by JAGs or commanders, but discipline is something that each one of us can use each day to shape ourselves into better Airmen officers. As CGOs we're charged discipline ourselves and to discipline others.
Finally, Col. Jay Raymond, 21st SW commander, provided the main event with a detailed briefing covering his expectations and his Air Force journey. He relayed the importance of balancing work with home life and taking care of Airmen's families as part of the Air Force family. He painted a picture of the professional officer, which includes the imperative of professional military education, face-to-face leadership and absolute integrity. He closed by harkening back to the overarching and vital importance of leadership: "Our Air Force needs your leadership. Our wing needs your leadership, and your Airmen need your leadership."
I appreciate the attention our leaders are paying to CGO development in order to make us into the leaders who will sustain our Air Force through today's fight and tomorrow's challenges.
The briefings were followed by some candid questions and answers and refreshments. It was a great event. I think it brought us together as 21st Space Wing CGOs, helping us to march more closely in step with wing leadership and arm in arm with each other.
(Editor's Note: This article is one of several highlighting the Air Force Space Command Year of Leadership and its focus on discipline)