Maxwell’s New Normal
By Col. Andrea D. Tullos, 42nd Air Base Wing Commander
/ Published September 17, 2014
MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- Times are hard: You're feeling it and so are we.
You may have noticed that, lately, it takes a bit longer to get through our installation gates, obtain a new ID card or refill a prescription. Perhaps you keyed in on cutbacks to morale and recreation activities. What you're experiencing is a common trend at military bases these days. Installation commanders across the Air Force have been forced to make difficult choices as we experience repeated cuts to funding and manning, and nearly every Airman, family member, veteran and retiree is feeling the impact in one way or another.
So, you might wonder, how did we get here? Why are we scaling back on these important programs and services? Let me tell you...
The last two years presented military leaders with a series of difficult tasks, from navigating the waters of sequestration, to balancing mission requirements against cuts. Our leaders were forced to make decisions to draw down personnel and resources in ways that were difficult to understand, challenging to explain and painful to implement.
Leaders at Maxwell were no exception. To understand how we prioritize here, you need to understand our mission at the 42nd Air Base Wing. First, my primary responsibility is to preserve our nation's most precious resource - those sons and daughters who have volunteered to serve. We continue to be a nation at war, and it's my job to ensure our courageous Airmen are properly trained and equipped to successfully accomplish their wartime tasks, both at home and abroad.
Second, I'm charged with providing capabilities to enable our partner organizations on Maxwell and Gunter to accomplish their missions and project our nation's airpower. Our wing must keep the airfield safely operating and supply viable infrastructure, so the 908th Airlift Wing can generate sorties...so the Defense Information Systems Agency can deliver worldwide communications capabilities...so Air University can formulate airpower doctrine, tackle our nation's most strategic problem sets and train the military leaders of today and tomorrow...and so on.
With fewer dollars and people to accomplish a heavy workload, we have less resources to devote to support services. So, how do we all - military and civilian, active duty and reserve, family members and retirees -- pull together to make this work? We need look no farther than outside our gates. We're incredibly blessed with a surrounding community that is more than capable of filling the void of lost morale and recreation programs. Our partnership with the River Region community is one of Maxwell-Gunter's greatest strengths, and is one of the factors which I believe will help us absorb the reductions we're facing and emerge even stronger.
As we work through these reductions, I would ask you to give support, too. Please exercise patience if the line doesn't move quickly as you'd like or the Airman behind the counter needs to find a supervisor to help answer your question. The next time you see one of our Airmen, please continue to thank them for their service. We've put even more into their rucksacks to carry than ever before, and yet, they continue to do far more than trudge along...they take wing and soar. Aethera Nobis...The skies for us!