HomeOperation GRIT

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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?

The hope is that Operation GRIT becomes such a natural part of life in USAFE - AFAFRICA that no one will ever know whether it is still here or has evolved into something more.

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

  • Through wounded eyes

    I wasn't okay…I felt like no one cared. October 10, 2019, was easily one of the loneliest days of my life. While most of the base slept that brisk morning, I was having makeup applied to my face to rep-resent the “black eye” that would paint it for the rest of the day. With my realistic scenario playing in my head and 10 domestic violence awareness cards in hand, I set out to start my day. Throughout the day, I was supposed to come into contact with as many Airmen as possible in hopes that they would ask if I was alright or if I needed assistance. The exercise was designed to increase overall domestic violence awareness, foster the “see something, say something” mentality and highlight the various helping agencies on base.
  • Incirlik Airmen build resilience with new rugby team

    Helen Keller, an American author and activist, once said “alone we can do so little, together we can
  • Suicide Prevention: Talking about it is the hard part

    Death leaves a heartache that is often difficult to heal from, because it can be tough to forget someone who gave so much to remember.
  • Incirlik Airmen roll out September GRIT

    Grit… what is grit? The word brings thoughts of courage, resolve and strength of character, according to the major command U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa. Using this definition, USAFE-AFAFRICA has pushed forward with an initiative called Operation GRIT. It is an innovative way of improving military culture, creating safer communities and developing productive Airmen, the MAJCOM says on its website.
  • RAF Mildenhall Equal Opportunity advisor is serious about travel

    During his two assignments at RAF Mildenhall, England, U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Landon Scaife, 100th Air Refueling Wing Equal Opportunity advisor, traveled to more than 20 countries. He turned wrenches as a maintainer during his time here from 2012 to 2014, and now, as a member of the Equal Opportunity office, he serves to ensure work environments for Airmen are free of obstacles preventing them from succeeding. Scaife has taken advantage of the base’s proximity to other countries and used travel not only as an outlet to decompress from the demands of work, but also as a tool for personal change.
  • When you’re gone: Beyond surviving

    Death is not kind. It cloaks every corner of the world with little to no discrimination, stealing away people that are too young, too nice and most loved. Its reality is unforgiving and can only truly be understood by those who have felt its icy fingers. One Liberty Wing member felt that touch. What started as a beautiful day filled with love, ended with Graham Hingston, 48th Civil Engineer Squadron asset accountability element chief, finding his wife Lynne Hingston, lifeless near their home.
  • RAF Mildenhall NCO’s journey from enlisted to officer

    U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Ian Velez, 100th Communications Squadron NCO-in-charge of radio frequency transmissions, is scheduled to attend Officer Training School and commission as a force support squadron officer later this year. Velez’s path to OTS was not a quick one. He faced many obstacles while pursuing his goal of becoming an Air Force officer; nonetheless, he earned his commission with drive, patience and the ability to accept the guidance of a mentor.
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USAFE - AFAFRICA: Operation GRIT