Adapting to change, moving forward

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. David Nordel
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing command chief
Team Fairchild, 

As I looked around our wing, Air Force and Nation, I see a common theme which most recently came to the forefront when talking with our Airman Leadership School class. I heard myself saying the word "change" an awful I thought why is that? It becomes clear that 'change' is not a Fairchild phenomenon, but something much bigger. Former Surgeon General of the Air Force (Dr.) Lt. Gen. Paul K. Carlton once said "If you have an AF best practice today and do absolutely nothing to six months it is obsolete." You see, change is not only an everyday thing, but a necessity in what we do every day in the defense of our Nation. 

Change is not easy and we all adapt to change at different speeds. Managing change in the Air Force is a skill that needs to be developed. If you read the book "Who Moved My Cheese," you'll find that there are about four types of ways people deal with change (In the book they are mice...but you get the point). The ability to change quickly and adapt to new ideas, work environments, leaders, etc. is something we all need to embrace and be used to. We don't inherently like change because we love our routines and feel safe in what we know, but let me give you a few examples of where we would be if we had not changed... 

Billy Mitchell, who is now considered the father of America's Air Force, thought we needed an independent Air Force. He was so passionate about it, they court-martialed him. What if we had not changed? 

There were those who thought horses didn't need to be replaced by jeeps and tanks, and now helicopters. Imagine if we had not changed... 

When I came in the Air Force, you could smoke in your office (mine was next to a newborn nursery), got a letter of reprimand for drug use and senior leaders would dance on tables at the club. Thanks goodness we CHANGED... 

So why do I bring all this up? Because our team is going through vast change. We have our association with the Air National Guard which you all feel; some of you have or will have a new work area; some of you will have a new supervisor or duty section; and others will get orders to new places because of change. 

Change is what our new Commander in Chief ran his campaign on and even he is taking the country through change very rapidly. We must all realize that for the overall good of the Nation, and more closely team Fairchild, that change is here, it moves at different speeds (right now it is Mach 50) and that it is what keeps us ahead of every air force in the world. What we do each and every day is important. What we do for tomorrow is absolutely vital to keeping us where we are as the World's Greatest Air and Space Force. 

Thank you all for your service and sacrifice... 

Chief out!