Wing develops new MVPs as it prepares for Name, Mission change

  • Published
  • By Bradley J. Clark
  • 908th Airlift Wing

The 908th Airlift Wing has been in various states of transition since November 20, 2020, when then Secretary of the Air Force, the honorable Barbara Barrett, announced that the 908th AW at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama was the preferred location to host the MH-139A Grey Wolf Formal Training Unit.

For the last three and a half years, the wing has been working tirelessly to prepare for the new mission, while simultaneously keeping its members focused and ready to deploy when called upon.

To do that, the wing’s mission was to, “Develop and Deliver Multi-Capable Airmen”; the vision of the wing was, “The Premier Wing that Inspires Transformational Servant Leaders and Exports Excellence”; and the wing’s priorities were to “Develop Airmen,” “Accelerate and Sustain Readiness,” “Communication,” and “Prepare for MH-139 Beddown.”

But, now is the time for additional changes as the wing closes in on its new mission; it is also time for new vision and priorities.

Immediately following the April 2024 unit training assembly, 908th AW Commander, Col. Christopher Lacouture, convened a strategic alignment event with wing leadership, April 15 and 16, 2024, at Air University’s Fairchild Library on Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.

The event’s facilitator was Mr. Justin Bell, the wing’s process manager.

According to Bell, the purpose of the event was, “to define the way forward for the next few years, and more closely align our mission, vision and priorities with our higher headquarters.”

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 reviewed the National Defense Strategy, and then analyzed the mission and vision statements and the priorities of our higher headquarters and mission partners,” explained Bell. “These included the U.S. Air Force, Air Force Reserve Command, Air Force Global Strike Command, Air Education and Training Command, 22nd Air Force, 20th Air Force, 19th Air Force and the 58th Special Operations Wing.”

Then the team began focusing on the new mission statement.

“It should be a short statement that explains why our wing exists,” explained Bell. “We want it to be concise, relatable and something that every member of the wing can see themselves in.”

Next came the vision statement.

“It sets a common direction for transformation and growth,” explained Bell. “It should be a bold affirmation, dynamic, daring, memorable, and maybe even a little controversial, with an aspirational statement of a desired end state.”

Next up came the priorities, but first the event participants conducted a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats analysis.

“The SWOT analysis allows people to focus on three to five initiatives based on the themes identified during the analysis,” explained Bell. “This helps us focus on our strategic priority and should express a focus on the establishment, creation and transformation of areas of concern for the betterment and sustainability of the organization over the next 24-36 months.”

Now after nearly three weeks of deliberation and fine tuning, the wing has announced its new mission, vision and priorities during a wing commanders call May 4, 2024.

“The group developed these statements and priorities together,” explained Bell. “It truly was a collaborative effort.”

The 908th Airlift Wing’s new mission statement is to, “Deliver lethal combat Airmen to defeat America’s enemies.”

The 908th AW’s new vision statement is to, “Be the dominant Wing integrating lethality and readiness to consistently deliver bold, agile, and dedicated Airmen supplying superior combat capabilities.”

When unveiling the new mission and vision statements to the wing, Lacouture explained why they were chosen.

“Lethal, I didn’t pick this word, we didn’t come up with these words because we wanted fluff, we needed these to have meaning and to resonate,” said Lacouture. “Bold, take action, be willing to act, advance when others aren’t willing, make wise risk decisions and accept risk where it makes sense. Agile, if something’s going wrong, change your plan. If you fail, get up, try again. If you see a better way to do it, bring it up to your superiors. Dedicated, know why you are here. Understand that what you are doing is important. Supplying superior combat capability, that what everyone in this room does. You all have a role and its all tied together and is necessary.”

The wing’s new priorities are: Generate Lethal Readiness; Develop Airman Warrior Ethos; Launch MH-139 Flight Training Unit; and Streamline/Modernize Local Processes.

When presenting those to the unit, Lacouture explained that they are what he is going to pay attention to in order to drive the mission and vision.

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 will guide us for the next two to three years,” said Lacouture. “We will keep an eye on these and adjust as necessary.”