Teamwork is key to successful operations – past, present and future

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. John Obrien
  • 92nd Mission Support Group
Teamwork is defined in Webster's New World Dictionary as "a joint action by a group of people, in which each person subordinates his or her individual interests and opinions to the unity and efficiency of the group." This is not to say that each person, section or organization isn't important but that teamwork goes beyond individual and secular accomplishments. Though difficult to achieve at times, the most effective teamwork is produced when all entities involved, no matter how diverse they are, communicate and synchronize their efforts to accomplish a common goal.

My last deployment and home station Total Force Integration experiences have exemplified this definition - not at first, but eventually - and the result has been the forming of an unbeatable team.

I was honored to deploy with the initial team that stood up the Expeditionary Prime Beef Group at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan and three Expeditionary Prime BEEF Squadrons at Kandahar, Bagram and Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan. Our mission was to collapse Air Force-manned engineer detachments under U.S. Army control and reorganize them under the EPBG. We brought together many military and civilians of varying skills levels and different career paths including: logistics planners, vehicle ops, vehicle maintainers, knowledge ops, material managers, client systems, finance, personnelists, civil engineers and contractors. These warriors hailed from every major command, the Air National Guard, the Air Force Reserves and private contracts. Organizing this extremely diverse team into an efficient group with synchronized efforts towards the common goal of delivering installation engineering to battle space owners was daunting to say the least.

Initially, the going was difficult as each function within the Group struggled to establish their individual footprint in a joint operation void of traditional AF support - though the EPBG is led by Airmen, it is still a joint expeditionary taking mission separate from air expeditionary wings. To further exasperate initial development, battlespace owners were applying tremendous pressure for additional engineering support to prepare for a 40,000-troop surge, creating an extremely stressful environment. Although equipped and capable, the EPBG struggled to meet engineering demand - that is until it opened up communications and synchronized the efforts of its entire organization to accomplish the goal. The results of this focused teamwork were amazing -- planning, designing, programming and troop construction project output increased by 500 percent in the first six months. Not only did the EPBG overcome its initial struggle to deliver installation engineering but it quickly evolved to accept additional missions to benefit the life, health and safety of warriors at remote forward operating bases and combat outposts. Through focused effort, the EPBG had formed an unbeatable team.

Returning from deployment nearly a year later, it was clear to see the evolution, the same progress the 92nd and 141st Air Refueling Wings have made towards TFI. Gone were the initial struggles and the individual footprints that hindered development. Through open communication and synchronized efforts towards a common goal, our wings have joined forces and built a strong relationship to maximize operational effectiveness in support of mission requirements - that's teamwork. Teamwork has enabled us to operate out of multiple locations on a daily basis (Geiger, Moses Lake and Fairchild), sustain high deployment rates in support Operation

Enduring Freedom and Operation New Dawn, and tackle evolving missions like Libya and the Japanese tsunami relief effort. Our action is joint, our efforts are synchronized and our impact is global - Fairchild is an unbeatable team.