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

  • 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.
  • Warren Aderholt’s Evasion Adventure

    On April 9, 1945, 2nd Lt. Warren Aderholt, of Birmingham, Ala., flew his fifteenth combat mission with the 309th Fighter Squadron, 31st Fighter Group. What started as a routine mission for a combat-seasoned P-51 Mustang pilot would instead change the lives of two families for the next 75 years.
  • Resiliency: personified

    Retired Staff Sgt. Jason Morgan shared his uplifting story with active-duty servicemembers on Ramstein Air Base, Germany, April 3, 2019.
  • U.S. Airmen aid Polish citizen while deployed for exercise

    At approximately 6:45 a.m., U.S. Air Force Airmen assisted a Polish citizen whose van had flipped outside Powdiz Air Base, Poland, March
  • 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
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USAFE-AFAFRICA: Operation GRIT