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

  • Firefighter commended, saves spouses life

    “I was in shock because I was talking to her just 5 minutes before and I went downstairs to make a cup of tea and came back upstairs and she wasn’t breathing and didn’t have a pulse” On Aug. 21, 2019, Robert Smith, 423rd Civil Engineer Squadron firefighter, was faced with one of the most challenging situations a husband could encounter, his wife Karen was unconscious and showing no signs of life.
  • Exceptional Leader Spotlight: Reflection from the end

    When you finally reach the top, a reflection from the past often shows the great accomplishments, the painful obstacles and the image of who we hoped to be.
  • Exceptional Leader Spotlight: Reflection from the beginning

    Looking into the mirror are you satisfied with the reflection gazing back, are you where you want to be?
  • Exceptional Leader Spotlight: The mirror of leadership

    Looking through the rear-view mirror offers a good glance back for one to determine how far they have come, but one must always look at the present reflection to prepare for the roads ahead.
  • Solving people problems, one dispute at a time

    Over 40 Airmen came together with one common goal, to learn how to leverage negotiation, mediation and dispute resolution techniques to help fellow Airmen communicate through conflict and disputes, at the U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa Conference Center, Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Dec. 3-5, 2019.
  • In a Moment: Providing rescue aid

    ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England – Integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do, are the foundational principles instilled into all Airmen. They are the core values of what it means to be a member of the U.S. Air Force. On Oct. 28, 2019, two Liberty Wing Airmen exemplified all three core values when they answered the call to action during a routine temporary duty assignment in Gran Canaria, Spain.
  • Overcoming tough times

    Deployments away from home are a reality for military members. However, my assignment locations have given me more opportunities for short trips away rather than long deployments. In fact, it had been over 10 years since I experienced being away for more than several weeks. Then fate caught up with me and I found myself at an austere location in unbearable heat separated from my loved ones by what felt like millions of miles.
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USAFE - AFAFRICA: Operation GRIT