Interdependence an integral part of mission

  • Published
  • By Col. Lawrence Gray
  • Col. Lawrence Gray, 39th Air Base Wing vice commander
Last week, Americans across the globe celebrated the 233rd anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The 39th Force Support Squadron put together a full day of activities that ended with a great fireworks show for all to enjoy. They deserve our thanks and kudos. But I'm not here to discuss independence; rather, I am going to take this occasion to revel in our interdependence.

During a dinner conversation at my home the other night, my son was telling his mother and me about one of his classmate's assignment to a summer hire position here. This particular young man was assigned to a job within the 39th Communications Squadron. He was familiar with the squadron because one of his parents worked there, and he knew the squadron would be moving into a newly renovated building over the summer. He was excited getting to work in that new building.

However, when he showed up to the summer hire orientation meeting that first Monday morning he found out that although he would be working in the communications squadron, he would not be working in the new building. This young man was assigned to work in the official documents center handling mail, which was apparently a disappointment.

Of course, my son thought this was somewhat humorous until I looked my son dead in the eye and told him, "Don't you realize...he has the most important job on the base." I could have knocked him over with a feather.

I then explained to him the importance of ensuring our Airmen and their families regularly receive their mail, whether from family, friends or just their weekly Sports Illustrated magazine. I told him that at an overseas military base, nothing would drop morale faster, and therefore, destroy mission effectiveness, than stopping the mail from getting to the troops. No mail was like cutting off our Airmen from the reason they were here. Then he better understood.

Of course, there is a moral to this story. We are all interdependent upon each other to perform our mission to the best of our abilities and ensure the wing can fulfill its mission. There is no job on this base, or in our Air Force, that is too small or insignificant. Too often, people think the pilots who fly airplanes, the mechanics who fix airplanes or the colonels and chiefs who have stewardship over our people are the only important Airmen.

They couldn't be more wrong. I know the local nationals who feed out pilots and mechanics, and the Airmen and civilians that work overtime to put on a great Fourth of July celebration for the base, and even the young summer hires that handle the mail are all vital to keeping Incirlik operating in a safe and effective manner. For all your efforts, I say thanks Team Incirlik, each and every one of you.