Words from our New Wing Vice Commander

  • Published
  • By Maj Andrea Morris
  • 931 ARW

Greetings Kanza Warriors!  It’s great to be back here in Kansas this month and I’m excited to meet you and hear your stories. 

In sports like snowboarding, skiing, surfing, and skateboarding, progression is a requirement for winning.  Judges evaluate an athlete’s performance by how progressive their tricks are.  If you fail to progress, you lose.  A great example of this is the backflip trick in motocross.

In 1985 Jose Yanez performed a backflip on a bike and back then no one had even considered backflipping a full-sized motorcycle.  During the 2000 Gravity Games, Carey Hart was the first to attempt a backflip during a freestyle motocross competition.  His execution wasn’t perfect and he didn’t land the trick, but he forever changed Freestyle Motocross as a sport.  Caleb Wyatt landed the trick in 2002 and proved that a backflip on a full-sized motorcycle was indeed possible.  In 2002, Hart conquered the backflip in the Summer X Games and Mike Metzger performed two backflips in a row on a motocross bike.  Backflips soon became routine for riders and in 2006, Travis Pastrana performed a double backflip.  In 2008, Jim De Champ performed a front flip and in 2015 Josh Sheehan nailed the first triple backflip.  Do you think Jose Yanez could have predicted how his new trick would impact BMX and motocross decades later?

This is progression.  Progression builds off of innovation. It is the idea that anyone and everyone, on any day, can improve established cultures, methods, capabilities, ideas and tactics.  In sports, progression comes in optimizing form, improving nutrition, or increasing training volume in a skill…think adding another twist or flip to an already mastered trick.  In our military, progression comes after mastering skills, tactics or procedures and requires improvement on what exists by adding new components or perhaps refocusing and redesigning the what or the how we do it.  The ultimate goal is to be more effective by aligning our efforts with best practices or newly developed practices in our current operational environment in order to shorten a kill chain.  Christian Brose, in his book The Kill Chain, calls for us to reimagine our nation’s defense in the new era of great power competition, particularly with China.  He writes, “New technologies are important, but not as important as new thinking.  And new thinking is more likely to emerge if we remain focused on the right things.”  It is imperative we embrace a progressive mindset through innovation in order to get and stay ahead of the threats to our nation’s security. 

Lt Gen John Healy, Chief of the Air Force Reserve, took command this week.  His priorities and goals are straightforward: “Ready Now, Transforming for the Future.” “Through active and effective communication, high-level collaboration, accountability at all levels and above all acting with a sense of urgency, we will continue to provide experienced professional needed capacity and capability to defend this nation.”

Kanza Warriors…You are Ready, Accessible, Resilient Airmen.  Continue to innovate and expect progression in all aspects of your career and life.  Be open to finding diverse and unexpected solutions to challenges.  Demand progression from your teammates both on and off the Air Force Reserve playing field. 

Do what you’ve been asked to do better than anyone ever has and keep looking for ways to do it even better; don’t forget to train the next person to replace you, and always take care of yourself, your family and your teammates.  You cannot imagine the impact each of your efforts and accomplishments will have decades from now; but like Jose’s back flip, it is certain that they will have impact. 

See you on the line!