HomeOperation GRIT

GRIT is not a program or a training plan...it is a renewal of our duty to mentor and lead, and owned by every USAFE - AFAFRICA Airman Warrior.

By definition, GRIT is courage and resolve...strength of character. USAFE - AFAFRICA Airman Warriors have courage and determination despite challenges in their way.

Our Operation GRIT Mission:

  • We invest time and resources in what we value
  • Investing in Airmen is what we value
  • Invested Airmen will become the warriors we expect and need them to be
  • USAFE - AFAFRICA Leaders are expected to invest, mentor and listen
  • Developing Airmen daily IS the mission

How did GRIT start?
Airmen from across the command and of all ranks, career fields, and supervisory levels provided feedback and USAFE - AFAFRICA listened! Our focus is on revitalizing the squadron, giving ownership to commanders, and focusing on the positive results of a culture of professionalism.

Who is GRIT tailored to?
GRIT is for every Airmen across USAFE - AFAFRICA because every Airman Warrior is a LEADER! It is a synchronized message up and down the chain of command. Its success depends on EVERY Airmen to be a leader in their own sphere of influence.

What is my role in Operation Grit?

Supervisors at every level will conduct monthly “Check 6” talks with subordinates during normal routine workflow.  Every Airman should share in the changes and success of their workplace.  Every leader is responsible for reinforcing important messages such as core values, risk factors for suicide, bystander intervention, belonging in the workplace, respect, team work, etc. throughout the year. 

How is GRIT different?
OPERATION GRIT WORKS SMARTER NOT HARDER. GRIT is a mindset focused on developing Airmanship and related leadership skills to enhance:
1) Connection - to the unit, our mission, and AF heritage
2) Personal Performance - develop and strengthen leadership competencies and behaviors
3) Shared Sense of Purpose - developing Airmen is our #1 mission set

How Does Operation GRIT Solve Negative Behaviors?

We cannot anticipate every negative behavior, and episodic training has limited effect. By focusing on the positive development of Airmen and AF culture, we create a natural reduction in negative behaviors by providing the environment and tools Airmen seek as the ideal. This brings in skills, and attitudes that influence change. Creating “optimum” Airmen and workplaces will naturally reduce the negative behaviors, which are seen as symptoms of the system.

Why should leaders take the time?

Leaders must adopt the paradigm shift that developing Airmen and leaders IS the primary mission that makes all other Air Force missions possible. Leaders must be courageous and optimistic in developing a values-based leadership strategy in how they lead. Leadership must engage in leading and managing Airmen with a growth-mindset instead of a comply and ‘do it’ mindset. Investment in culture change within the squadron takes less time from the mission than mandatory compliance training and yields more rewards to the mission as well as the community. Operation GRIT is not something that leaders “need to do” because they are told, it is something they “need” because it will lower lost mission hours, improve military culture, create safer communities, and create more productive Airmen.

How are we measuring to keep people accountable?

Leadership is about trust. We are trusting that creating optimum workplaces and our future warriors is a leader’s priority. If they say they are doing it, then we will trust them.

This is just going to be replaced in a year or two, right?

Probably. It is called “Operation GRIT” because we expect an end date. Nevertheless, USAFE - AFAFRICA has the opportunity to show the Air Force that there is a better way to solve our problems: an Air Force way that involves building on our core values, our Airmen development, and commitment to culture.

GRIT Stories

  • Tails from the hardstand: 100th Bomb Group veteran shares ‘Bloody Hundredth’ memories

    “It was right after Pearl Harbor happened that my best friend and I decided to join up with the U.S. Army Air Corps,” recalled retired Master Sgt. Dewey Christopher, a former 351st Bomb Squadron crew chief, 100th Bombardment Group and World War II veteran. “We went to Oklahoma City to sign up and by Dec. 17, 1941, I was in the service.” Christopher recently visited RAF Mildenhall as guest of honor at a ceremony renaming the Professional Development Center after him, and shared some of the stories from when he was stationed in England during World War II.
  • From enlisted marine to 100th ARW commander: dreams, hard work pay off

    At first glance, Col. Troy Pananon, 100th Air Refueling Wing commander, seems to be what many U.S. Airmen would expect a U.S. Air Force wing commander to be: energetic, driven, sociable and of course, intelligent. What might not be apparent are the struggles he faced in his quest to become the Airman he is today.
  • Exceptional Leader Spotlight: Senior Master Sgt. Jeremy Schoneboom

    Life isn’t always about starting off perfect, sometimes it’s the challenges that build our character, or maybe it’s about finding out what our purpose is that inspires us.
  • Exceptional Leader Spotlight: Master Sgt. Richard Duken

    Some of us don’t go where the path leads, but instead blaze our own trail. When U.S. Airmen choose to be the difference, they are making themselves, the Wing, and the Air Force better.
  • Spangdahlem class develops NCOs into effective leaders

    Spangdahlem NCOs are attending the Leaders of the Future course, an ongoing program intended to develop leadership and management skills here. The course started in 2018 and is currently in its third iteration. Each course is seven weeks long and is scheduled to take place four times per year, targeting staff sergeants and new technical sergeants nominated by their supervision.
  • Consent, intervene, support

    Can I kiss you? Those words echoed the room and all that came back was silence. This was the first question posed to the floor during a Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month event hosted here, which focused on educating Airmen on how to build positive relationships while encouraging constructive interactions among all people.
  • Former Army officer, current NFL player gives back to service members in Germany

    He used to hear explosions of improvised explosive devices, now he hears the explosion of a crowd’s cheers. Instead of commanding officers shouting orders, it’s now teammates calling audibles. He no longer wears a Kevlar helmet, trading it in for a football helmet.
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USAFE - AFAFRICA: Operation GRIT