Looking ahead in 2013 - Edwards focuses on mission readiness

by Rebecca Burylo
Air University Public Affairs

1/4/2013 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- Looking back on 2012, Col. Trent Edwards, 42nd Air Base Wing commander, can't be happier with his Airmen and hopes to continue that trend of excellence in 2013.

"I'll tell you we've had a fantastic 2012, and we'll continue to focus on leadership, partnership, Airmen and family, and really focus on the mission as we go into 2013," said Edwards. "The most important thing is mission readiness and getting the mission done, and I think our Airmen have demonstrated that they can do that."

Coming into the new year with big ideas and an even bigger vision, Edwards shared the goals he has for the 42nd Air Base Wing, including the effects they will have on base personnel, Airmen, civilians and families.

He said his first and foremost goal is to maintain the wing' s mission of preparing mission-ready Airmen and to operate a "world-class installation."

Acing the upcoming inspection is one way the wing and Maxwell can prove themselves.

"We have a big consolidated unit inspection in September 2013. We need to ace that inspection as we continue to demonstrate why we are the premier air base wing in the Air Force," he said. "Our Airmen are outstanding and they work hard every day. I'd like to see them recognized for all their hard work and sacrifices."

Another initiative set for Maxwell is the continued reduction of energy and maintenance costs by demolishing older facilities, using available space and tax dollars efficiently, and consolidating the overall base infrastructure in order to meet its goal of 20 percent square footage reduction by 2020.

A change in mission alignment will be implemented this year between Air University and the wing, with both the comptroller and public affairs functions shifting from AU to the wing.

Under the Air Force's organizational structure, these two functions would normally fall under the wing's command, and the realignment will not change the missions, added Edwards.

"Their mission is still the same. There is no reason to be apprehensive about it, you just get a new boss but you can continue to do the same things that you did before," he said.

There are two ways that as a leader, Edwards says he helps everyone to aim toward the same goals: through sharing information and effective coordination between units.

Edwards, who said he enjoys engaging with Airmen, wants to create at Maxwell a safe environment where they can thrive as responsible leaders, treating each other with respect and dignity through the continued efforts of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response team.

He hopes that they feel engaged with Maxwell's mission and realizes the impact leadership within the wing has on Airmen and their pride in their work.

"At the end of every decision we make is an Airman. Our decisions have huge impacts on the Airmen, civilians and the mission," Edwards said. "Leaders at all levels need to ensure we are connecting with our workforce, helping grow, mentor and develop them and empowering them to do great things and let them go do it."

Maxwell leadership has a responsibility to support its Airmen, Edwards said.

"This is an incredibly smart generation of young Airmen leaders," he said. "They and their families make great sacrifices on behalf of the nation; we owe them the best leadership possible."

Along with mission-ready Airmen, partnering with the local community leaders is another key characteristic of a successful installation, according to Edwards, who enjoys meeting with city and government officials to learn how they can better support each other including education for children as they transition to high school off base.

"I believe world-class installations have a very healthy relationship with the local community," he said. "Partnering with the Montgomery superintendent of schools is an area of concern as it relates to quality education for our children, and so is ensuring that our very own Maxwell Elementary Middle School continue to offer top tier curriculum that makes our students competitive as they transition to high school."

Community service accomplishments by Maxwell and the wing were plentiful throughout 2012.

The installation supported the Federal Emergency Management Agency's operations during Hurricane Issac's hit on the Gulf Coast, Maxwell and Gunter's Honor Guard performed at more than 640 ceremonies recognizing the nation's fallen heroes, and the 42nd Medical Group treated more than 7,000 patients on a humanitarian mission to Peru.

The 42nd Force Support Squadron served families transitioning to Maxwell as they coordinated events such as drive-in movies, picnics, and the Ballet on the Green as part of its Care-a-Lot program.

The 42nd Logistics Readiness Squadron excelled during the 2012 AETC Logistics Compliance Assessment Program, achieving two outstanding performers and an "Excellent" rating.

Also, the 42nd Communications Squadron enhanced Maxwell and Gunter's communication operations by moving it to the Air Force Network.

This saved the installation millions of dollars, according to Edwards, as well as retooling communications support for Air War College and Air Command and Staff College students.