Former SECAF visits Maxwell
Former Secretary of the Air Force Michael W. Wynne speaks to Officer Training School staff and trainees during a visit to Maxwell.
Former SECAF visits Officer Training School



by Capt Korry Leverett
Officer Training School


11/10/2010 - MAXWELL AFB, Ala.  -- Commissioned and Basic Officer Trainees at Officer Training School had the unique opportunity to listen to the Air Forces' former senior civilian leader last week here at Maxwell.  

Former Secretary of the Air Force Michael W. Wynne visited Officer Training School to address trainees and thank them for their service during the demanding times the Air Force currently faces.

"Thank you for committing yourself to the Air Force in a time when your country needs you most," said former Secretary Wynne. "You must take this opportunity as future leaders of the Air Force to steer this great nation."

Secretary Wynne continued that leaders in the Air Force need a few things to ensure they are prepared for the responsibilities that come with the positions they will hold.

"The first is a healthy lifestyle," Secretary Wynne said. "Each of you needs to keep the Air Force core values at the forefront ... you need a moral compass to keep yourself steady."

He continued that a healthy lifestyle is much more than simply keeping yourself steady, but that it's also demonstrating the same levels of discipline you are learning here at OTS as Air Force Officers.

"Think of the level of discipline expected from a maintenance shop and then put yourself in the position of running the shop," he said. "Then, think of the level of discipline required from the Airmen that ran air operations from two card tables after earthquakes devastated the country of Haiti ... when situations arise you must be ready."

The second thing quality that the secretary discussed was that officers need to be responsive during crisis.

"Airmen look to you to be calm and resolute during a crisis situation," he said. "If you're not calm then you're unit won't be calm ... it's your responsibility as leaders to be calm."

He continued to say that 80 percent of what we do in crisis is muscle memory ... your reaction during crisis comes from practice through exercises and training on a regular basis.

"The firemen that turned into the trouble in New York were ready," secretary Wynne said. "You don't know what crisis you'll face but you must be ready."

The secretary concluded his comments at OTS by discussing some of the key attributes that he believes will set Airmen up for success in the Air Force, as well as some pitfalls to avoid.

Leaders need to develop the ability to delegate, first learning the strengths and weaknesses of their Airmen, the secretary said. He continued that each Airmen needs to be empathetic leaders, remaining strong but also understanding when times become too rigorous, and lastly have a healthy fear of failure and constantly strive for success.

Secretary Wynne cautioned against complacency and ignorance. "You should constantly seek success," he said. "Airmen should not shade on their integrity or principles ... we should learn the core values and live them."