HomeOperation GRIT

GRIT is not a program or a training plan... it is a renewal of our duty to mentor and lead 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 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 mission than mandatory compliance training and yields more rewards in mission as well as 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, 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 involved building on our core values, our Airmen development, and commitment to culture.

GRIT Stories

  • Mildenhall Airmen apply resilience program

    All Airmen share a few things in common, and one of them is represented by the little strip of cloth that says U.S. Air Force. Airmen are all on the same team with the same goal; accomplish the mission. GRIT is a program to revitalize a squadron’s resiliency and reap the benefits of a culture based on professionalism. The goal is to reduce negative behaviors while increasing positive ones.
  • Mental Health Awareness Forum

    Contact the Behavioral Health Optimization Program on base at 452-8333 to schedule an appointment to
  • RAF Mildenhall spouses host dual-military seminar

    Two married senior master sergeants facilitated a dual-military seminar for Airmen from RAF Mildenhall and RAF Lakenheath March 7, 2019, at RAF Mildenhall, England. The seminar included lectures such as “The 5 Love Languages,” dual-military assignments, and a dual-military panel at the end.
  • ADAPT: Helping deal with problems correctly

    Being in the military can be stressful at times for a lot of service members. On top of handling
  • We've got GRIT

    If you’ve ever worn a U.S. Air Force name tape, then you probably heard the saying “get to know your Airmen,” but what does that really mean? One meaning is to find ways to foster positive exchanges through candid discussions; Airmen USAFE-wide know this method as Operation GRIT.
  • Mildenhall hosts USAFE resilience trainer course

    RAF Mildenhall hosted a Master Resiliency Trainer certification course for members across U.S. Air Forces in Europe Air Forces Africa here Jan. 14-18. The course was held with the purpose of increasing resilience awareness and training, inspired by the Air Force initiative to create a culture where members are comfortable seeking and receiving assistance within their communities.
  • First term Airman: Failing my way to success

    First term Airman. A term for many Airmen that carries moments of success, failure, disorientation, and most importantly, questions.
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USAFE-AFAFRICA: Operation GRIT