The Road Ahead: Maintaining professional, personal readiness, efficiency, balance

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- To the men and women of the Maxwell-Gunter team and indeed the whole River Region community, my family and I have been overwhelmed by your kindness and hospitality in welcoming us back to the area. From the Airmen at the gate to the Air University commander, we already feel like a part of the family. We look forward to serving with you as we defend our nation and "fly, fight, and win!"

Each and every one of you are what makes this Maxwell-Gunter team so special. Indeed, whether you look at the variety of missions, the incredible leadership at all levels, or the total force mix of active duty, reserve, guard, civilian or contract employees, we are all Airmen. We represent a cross-section of our Air Force today, a total force team that has volunteered to serve our nation in a time of war. The vast majority of this team joined after hostilities were already under way and knew the sacrifices that would be demanded. This whole team embodies the definition of the term "service" and for that and many other reasons, I am honored to serve you.

We are engaged in a war of a variety and scope that I, and many of my contemporaries, could not imagine possible when we joined. This fight requires all of us to maintain our professional and personal readiness, efficiency and balance.

Individually, we have to continually seek to improve our readiness by increasing our physical and mental fitness. The physical fitness test and mandatory Professional Military Education are only the start. For many professional and personal reasons, we need to maintain a healthy, active lifestyle in addition to our PT time each week. We should always strive to ensure we are not the weakest link during a deployment when lives are at stake. Similarly, a personal and professional reading program or outside studies will encourage you to think through things that are important to you and your Air Force and make you more prepared for the mental strain and demands of war.

Supervisors, we have the responsibility to make sure our Airmen have the best possible training, and that they are current and prepared to go when called upon. We also must make sure they are properly postured with trained backups so that, when they deploy, the in-garrison mission does not fail.

All of this preparation comes at a cost of money, time and resources. Therefore, we must continue to strive for increased efficiency. For the foreseeable future, we should expect to continue to deal with manning shortfalls. This should not surprise us. It will require us to prioritize tasks to ensure we get the most important things accomplished first. Similarly, our nation is fighting through an economic recession. We can expect our budget to hold steady or decline in real buying power. This reality will drive choices at all levels, and we have a responsibility to be good stewards of our nation's hard-earned dollars. Please join me and help make smart decisions to get the most value out of every dollar we spend.

Finally, I encourage you to find balance in your life. As the "Year of the Air Force Family" draws to a close, we are reminded of how much our parents, spouses and children contribute and sacrifice alongside us in our service. If you have not done so, review your priorities, so you can determine if needs are being met at home and work. We each have to balance our physical, mental and spiritual lives. If we neglect any individual area, we will not function properly and will not be prepared to serve our families or nation well. Work hard and play hard. Enjoy what you do. Treat everyone with respect and make your organization a little better every day. The 42nd Air Base Wing will work hard to do all these things as well. By doing so, we will enable mission success for the entire Maxwell-Gunter team and provide a secure, enriching environment for our families.

Thank you again for the warm welcome, and I look forward to serving alongside you each day.