"Team" Goodfellow

  • Published
  • By Col. Mike Buck
  • Air Force ROTC Detachment 847 commander
Hello, folks! For those who don't know me, I am the base's stealth O-6. I am commander of the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps Detachment 847 at Angelo State University, having just arrived last summer.

We have had a great time thus far with the top medium-sized detachment honors, an "Excellent" Operational Readiness Inspection and the numerous scholarships, training and community service events for the cadets. The cadet wing is doing great with grades up, motivation up, retention up, physical fitness testing scores up...the list goes on. It may seem like I've digressed, but the great six months the detachment has had is also a direct reflection of "Team Goodfellow," the topic of my article!

After 26 years in the Air Force, flying fighters and Pentagon staff work, I have seen about all the work ethic catch phrases there are. From "the most important job you have is the one you are in now" (still valid), to the tougher ones like "right sizing" or "do more with less," to "make it happen-or we'll find someone who will." All are directed, either motivationally or harshly, at our attempt to fully meet all tasks.

During that time, "Team xxx," in this case, Team Goodfellow, also begin to find its way into our Air Force leader vocabulary. I had my doubts with yet another catchy phrase, and they appeared to be valid--I saw "team" initially as units working alongside their sister/supporting units. Better, yes, but it was more a congenial atmosphere--"we work with them, we coordinate with them, and we help when asked." Interesting...and not the teamwork that I understand from being an avid sports nut. And then I came to Goodfellow Air Force Base. I was floored. I saw teamwork as I have never seen it before, and you should be proud. Let me give a few examples.

I sat down with Col. Ayres to meet him for the first time on June 14, 2007...and I thought, "here it comes, the standard 'we're here to help' message." But it wasn't. Not even close.

"Mike, if there is anything you need, you got it. Just let me know how I can help," said Col. Ayres. I quickly understood I wasn't just an attached unit, and even though I had only six active-duty personnel, I was considered as important to the wing commander as any other unit on the base. More importantly, the wing came through with many offers, left and right, to help...so many, that we have to limit their support so the cadets have time to pass their classes! What a breath of fresh air...and fun in seeing these motivated, young and old, officers, enlisted and civilians interact and shape the lives of these very impressionable, young people.

That was the first my inclination that maybe this "teamwork" thing was more than a catch phrase to get us to cover gaps left by manpower changes. Many great things happened between the base and Det. 847; I don't mean to slight them all, but isn't enough room in the paper...so I'll move forward to a few weeks ago at Camp Sentinel.

A third of our Cadet Wing decided to come back early from their holiday break to participate in a base visit to Goodfellow. Yes, Goodfellow was their choice, not Cannon, Barksdale, Dyess, Laughlin, etc., but Goodfellow, five miles away. After a packed and informative 2 days, the visit culminated at Camp Sentinel. I won't go through the whole scenario, but two events happened provide the crowning point to my thoughts today. As the cadets defended the Camp, I walked and talked among the supporting Goodfellow personnel as the instructors worked the cadets.

A few minutes later I turned around and saw the Ammo folks actually also instructing the cadets. When I got a chance, I asked why, and the response was "I'm out here to set off smoke charges, knew my charges weren't needed right now, so thought I would pitch in to help while I was free." Interesting...Wow! They didn't need to do that, but they did. Later, I talked with the aggressors-they were not security forces! Huh? It seems some from the judge advocate's office and a few others determined that since the security forces were so heavily tasked with Global War on Terrorism deployments, they decided to play aggressor roles to help free up a little bit of the local security forces tasking! Now that is teamwork - looking out for each other, chipping in that little extra outside your job, and showing the care to see a task, any task, is done to the best it can be accomplished. Some of you have heard it before, but to all, my hat's off with heartfelt gratitude to Goodfellow for all you are doing for the Det and for showing an old dog what it is all about.

Thanks and keep the teamwork going strong!