MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. (AFNS) —
Since Nov. 20, 2020, when Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall announced that the 908th Airlift Wing at Maxwell Air Force Base was the preferred location to host the MH-139A Grey Wolf Formal Training Unit, the wing has been looking to the future.
The 908th AW has a long legacy of tactical airlift, with the most recent portion of that (nearly 40 years) using the C-130 Hercules as its platform around the world.
One of the biggest concepts that Col. Craig Drescher, 908th AW commander, emphasized over the last 20 months was, “The wing will be a C-130 unit providing tactical airlift until and through its last flight.”
That sentiment helped Alabama’s only Air Force Reserve Command wing execute the wing’s largest deployment in its history, having nearly 25% of its members deployed throughout 2021, including having members at Hamid Karzi Airport in Kabul during the fall of Afghanistan in August 2021 and other members help execute the following evacuation.
The 908th AW’s C-130s returned from their final deployment in November 2021 and flew their last flight with the wing, a four-ship formation flight, April 2.
During this entire time, the wing had a mission, vision and priorities that members embodied on a daily basis. They have been engrained into each Airman as the wing’s way of life, who the 908th AW is and what makes them successful.
The mission of the 908th AW was to, “Provide Combat Capability Anytime … Anywhere”; the vision of the wing was, “Capable, Innovative Citizen Airmen, Ready Today, Leading Tomorrow”; and the wing’s priorities were to, “Enhance our Combat Capabilities,” and, “Developing our Airmen.” Also, added during the pandemic were the wing’s COVID-19 priorities, “Ensure the health and wellbeing of our Airmen and their Families,” while, “Preserving as much mission as possible.”
But now is the time for change, as the wing is currently in a state of transition and so too are its mission, vision and priorities.
Following the July 2022 Unit Training Assembly, Drescher called on 35 enlisted and officer senior leaders from every squadron and group to join him and the other two thirds of his command team consisting of 908th AW Vice Commander Col. Casey Burril, and 908th AW Command Chief Chief Master Sgt. Tracy Cornett, for a wing strategic alignment conference July 11 and 12, at Air University’s Fairchild Library on Maxwell AFB.
The conference facilitator was Col. Christopher Victoria, 908th Mission Support Group deputy commander and the 25th Aerial Port Squadron acting commander.
According to Victoria, the purpose of the conference was, “to set the wing’s overall reason for existing into words.”
To accomplish that, leaders were asked some very basic questions to help lay the foundation and framing of the statements. “What do we do day to day? What do we want to achieve? What are our primary focus areas while getting there?”
“We analyzed the mission and vision statements and the priorities of our higher headquarters and mission partners,” Drescher explained. “These included Air Force Reserve Command, 22nd Air Force, Air Education and Training Command and Air Force Global Strike Command. We then asked ourselves, ‘Where does the 908th fall in under these?'”
The conference was then divided into four key sections to focus on: mission statement; vision statement; wing priorities; and a SWOT analysis, which is a technique for assessing an organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
Now, after more than two weeks of deliberation, the wing has announced its new mission, vision and priorities.
“The group developed these statements and priorities together,” Drescher said. “It truly was a collaborative effort.”
The 908th AW’s new mission statement is to “Develop and Deliver Multi-Capable Airmen.”
The 908th AW’s new vision statement is to be “The Premier Wing that Inspires Transformational Servant Leaders and Exports Excellence.”
When asked why the new mission and vision statements were chosen, Drescher explained that they emphasized putting the Airmen first.
“We will develop and deliver multi-capable Airmen when and where they are needed,” he said. “Airmen are our purpose.”
The wing’s new priorities are: Develop Airmen; Accelerate and Sustain Readiness; Communication; and Prepare for MH-139 Beddown.
These updates will help reshape the culture of the wing during this transition, while guiding the members towards the future mission, injecting new goals and standards into the DNA of the storied wing.
“These are our priorities for the next two to three years,” Drescher said. “We will re-assess and adjust as necessary.”