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

  • Do what you have to do to be where you want to be

    According to the Air Force Personnel Center, only 0.013 percent of enlisted members in the U.S. Air Force noncommissioned officer tier have a professional degree, one of which calls Aviano home.
  • USAFE-AFAFRICA continues dialogue on race throughout AOR

    “We must work together to create a culture that values diversity and builds trust,” said Gen. Jeff Harrigian, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander in a letter to USAFE-AFAFRICA Airmen. “This is the time to listen, share perspectives, and learn from each other.”
  • Maintaining resiliency

    ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England -- Resiliency can be defined as the capacity to overcome the negative effects of unpredicted setbacks. It allows for the effective use of physical, mental and emotional skills. For the 48th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, long hours and unexpected circumstances are standard, and can truly test an Airman’s resolve.
  • Brig. Gen. Jolly talks diversity with Airmen

    Brig. Gen. Ronald E. Jolly made time to talk about his experiences as a Black man in the Air Force, as well as answer Airmen’s questions.
  • Continuing the conversation: EO leads the way with diversity classes

    The mission of the EO office is to enable combat airlift capabilities and total team excellence through exceptional equal opportunity service, unrivaled leadership support, and promotion of a positive human relations environment. That mission has become more important than ever in recent months.
  • Year of the Pathfinder: Retiring wing chaplain reflects on diversity

    “Everybody is welcome, and everybody has worth and value.” said Lt. Col. Jerry Sather, 501st Combat Support Wing chaplain. After 41 years of military service, Sather shared stories about his experiences and his reflection on diversity in the military.
  • USAFE-AFAFRICA opens enrollment for commercial fitness app

    Beginning June, 25, 2020, as part of a phased roll-out, uniformed Total Force Airmen assigned to U.S. Air Force in Europe and Air Forces Africa can enroll in a commercial fitness application free of charge on their personal cell phones.
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USAFE - AFAFRICA: Operation GRIT