144th Fighter Wing Commander's Vision and Priorities

  • Published
  • By Col. Jeremiah Cruz, 144th Fighter Wing Commander
  • 144th Fighter Wing

144FW Warriors, it is an incredible honor to be a part of this team! It is a privilege to command and I take this responsibility seriously. The purpose of this article is to discuss my Vision and Priorities for our amazing Wing.

When I think of success, I always begin with an image of what I think success looks like. In the case of our Wing, I picture something I already see today; excited, dedicated, hardworking Airmen filled with pride in what they do and why they do it. I picture our Airmen coming together to ensure we meet our Federal, State, and Alert missions. Quite literally, I have an image in my mind of our Airmen working proudly to ensure our personnel, aircraft, and equipment are ready to deploy to any combat theater at a moment’s notice. I see our Airmen supporting and protecting the members of our great state during natural disasters while simultaneously ensuring our Alert F-15s are ready to launch within minutes.

This is my Vision:

Provide the Finest Disaster and Combat Ready Forces to our Civilian Leaders and Combatant Commanders.

Every Group, Squadron, and Flight Commander works with their Supervisors to create understandable, measurable, and achievable Objectives for their Airmen to meet my Vision and accomplish our Federal, State, and Alert Missions. Just like any other organization, to include family life, it is not uncommon to find that there is more to do in a day then there is time to do it. That is where priorities come in. I use priorities to help me decide what must be done today vs. what I’d like to get done today.

My Priorities for this Wing are:

1. People

2. Mission: Federal, State, Alert

3. Mentorship

4. Internal Controls

People & Mission: Taking care of our people means a lot of things; pay, promotions, training, using discipline to make corrections, expectation management, mental health, and family matters to name a few. Placing our people first has always made sense to me throughout my Military career because it is the people who execute the mission, not our equipment. There are of course, rare moments when the Mission will trump everything else and we are excited for those moments, they are what we train for. If The Adjutant General, MG David Baldwin, ordered us to “Take that Hill!” We would take the hill, secure it, name it Griffin Hill, and then get back to making sure our people are being cared for. Taking care of our people would be the only way to ensure the long-term success of Griffin Hill, which would of course, be our Mission.

My third priority, Mentorship, is not simply the mentorship of an individual Airman, it requires we consider both the prospective career of the individual as well as the future of our Wing, the California Guard, and the United States Military. Where do our individual futures fit in with the organization at large and how can we best serve the Guard while simultaneously taking care of ourselves and our families? When filling leadership and supervisor positions I want our leaders to not only take into consideration the candidate’s past performance and achievements, but also how their career goals and values strengthen the culture of this Wing and our ability to execute our mission. I have directed that our Commanders take a holistic approach to hiring leaders rather than considering “who’s next in line.” At this Wing we select leaders who will most benefit both our Wing and our Mission. We also work hard to mentor our members so they are ready to compete for high-level positions within their organizations and across the Nation.

Internal Controls help ensure continuous improvement in both ourselves and our Wing. We must regularly take a step back to evaluate what we are doing and how we can do it better. We have several shops on base who are responsible for helping us do this; Quality Assurance, Standards and Evaluations, the Inspectors General … but it is ultimately the responsibility of each of us to ensure we continually improve ourselves, our training, and our organizations’ processes. It is extremely important to me that each of you feel comfortable approaching your supervisors with suggestions for improvement. My recommendation, when you walk into your Boss’ office, tell them what you think the problem is or what we could be doing better, then have at least one suggested course of action for them.

In closing I want to thank each and every one of you for what you do. The purpose of this article was to help you understand how I utilize my Vision and Priorities to take care of you and execute our mission.

Being a Warrior for America is more than a job, it’s a calling. As members of the 144FW we are a part of something remarkable, we are a part of something much larger than ourselves. We are members of the California National Guard and the United States Military. We are responsible for the security of our State, our Nation, and the defense of its freedom.

I am honored to share this calling with fellow Americans who have stepped-up and volunteered to be a part of this Amazing Team. A team that has been given the greatest of responsibilities. The People of the 144th Fighter Wing are:

The Shield of this State and the Sword of our Nation

It is an incredible honor to serve with each and every one of you!