MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. --
The transition of the 931st Air Refueling Wing from a group to wing has been accompanied by several changes including the creation of new organizations such as the 924th and 905th Air Refueling Squadron. One of the last pieces of the puzzle will soon be the creation of the 931st Mission Support Group.
Traditionally, an installation Mission Support Group provides the foundation for executing the training mission, maintaining the facility, providing its security and taking care of it unit’s members. This includes the civil engineer squadron, the communications squadron, the force support squadron, the logistics readiness squadron and the security forces squadron.
The 931 ARW at McConnell already boasts these squadrons, but they are not yet encompassed under an official MSG. In order for the 931 ARW to fully stand up an MSG in the near future, an MSG director initially needed to be hired to eventually take over command.
Lt. Col. Matt Basler, a former leadership consultant at the Air Force Profession of Arms Center of Excellence, stepped into the director role this past December. The Kansas City native saw the job as an opportunity to continue improving the force as he had done in his previous role at PACE.
“Working with PACE for three years helped me understand that humans are humans, and if you understand what drives human beings, you will know how to motivate them correctly and help them accomplish great things,” Basler said.
According to the official website, PACE is responsible for shaping the Air Force professional culture by equipping Airmen with the knowledge and tools to deliberately develop better Airmen and leaders. Though Basler says he enjoyed his role with PACE, he wanted to put its principles in action.
“At the end of the day I could go around and teach people to be a good leaders but that’s all theory,” said Basler. “What I wanted to know is if those same principles will work in execution – that’s the real challenge of leadership.”
Basler also says he hopes to create a culture within the MSG which focuses on the importance of each Airmen.
“I want to create an MSG that focuses on the person and the professional,” said Basler. “I want to create an environment where Airmen actually want to come to work and make the MSG a better place; that’s the vision that I want to bring to the MSG.”
This vision is part of why 931 ARW leadership decided to hire Basler as director, as the time for the official stand-up of the 931 MSG draws closer.
“Successful organizations don't just happen, they are built by great leaders,” said Col. Phil Heseltine, 931 ARW commander. “Basler will be instrumental in providing a foundation for future quality base support and service for all the organizations here by forging an unbeatable team.”
While the idea of standing up a new group at a unit may seem challenging, Basler doesn’t seem deterred and looks forward to the future of the 931 MSG.
“I believe in people, and ultimately we’ve got a clean slate here because there’s never been a 931 MSG before. I don’t look at that as daunting, but as an opportunity to build better people, better leaders, and better Airmen.”