By Col. Patrick Cobb, 102nd Intelligence Wing
/ Published September 12, 2013
OTIS AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mass. -- Change is usually something most people fear. The vast majority of humans like things to stay the same..."don't rock the boat". As airmen, we are in the minority because the Air Force was built on change.
The technological changes that surround flight since the early 1900's have been truly astounding. From the Wright Brothers, to Big Week, to Mig Ally, to Thud Ridge; Airmen have always embraced change so we could always be the world's premiere Air Force. Our core values speak to our close ties with change.
When you break down "Excellence in all we do", Airmen must be willing to embrace change to ensure mission success. Our missions at the 102nd today carry on this great tradition. Airmen at the 102nd are on the leading edge so our missions are never lifeless or withering.
True change isn't focused on just technology and Airmen don't introduce change unless there is a need.
Real, sustained change is created to solve problems. At times, the problem is far away but change needs to start years before to mitigate or eliminate the problem before it becomes a problem.
The French Army had superior tanks but did not embrace the new ways to employ their tanks and was thus quickly defeated by a German Army that maximized change. As new technology enters the Air Force, Airmen tear apart the equipment, see how it works, and then create tactics, techniques, and procedures to maximize it. But we don't stop there; we continue to refine how we employ the equipment at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels of war so we never have to say "could 'a, should 'a, would 'a".
The B-52 was originally designed to be a high flying strategic bomber but incredible Airmen leading change, pushed the B-52 into the conventional role and flying it much lower to avoid the surface-to-air missile threat. There are many other examples throughout the history of the Air Force and this wing because Airmen are not afraid of change. Many more "histories" are being created today by Airmen carrying the legacy forward.
When someone says, "That's the way we've always done it," there's a good chance that is a person who has become stagnant in their position. Understanding what we've done in the past is critical to moving forward but we must never be chained to that past or we will lose the high ground. As we move forward in these challenging times, missions may change and you may move to another career field but please understand our history of change and know that Air Force and the Air National Guard will always provide the greatest global vigilance, reach, and power for our nation.