Second mile leadership in the 319th Mission Support Group

  • Published
  • By Col. Joseph Douez
  • 319th Mission Support Group commander
What does second mile leadership mean to you? Have you ever heard the term before? In Roman times a soldier could ask a citizen to carry his bags or weapons for one mile, if the citizen elected to go beyond that one mile it was his own choice. In the Gospel according to Matthew, Jesus on the Sermon on the Mount tells his followers, "If someone forces you to go one mile go with him two". The second mile is what makes you happy. It is the difference between a job and true service. It is what can make a squadron, a group or a wing great! It is the high touch that makes an airman basic a strategic weapon, especially when you are fighting to win the hearts and minds of Iraqi and Afghani citizens.

I'm here to tell you that second mile leadership is alive and well in the 319th Mission Support Group and the 319th Air Refueling Wing. It thrives and is everywhere I look. Let me share with you a couple examples of this fine trait.

This last month we have had many holiday parties, in fact every squadron in the group had a party including our security forces squadron. There was an amazing display of generosity by our wing Airmen last week supporting the security forces holiday party. The real heroes during the party were the twenty one individuals from all groups throughout the wing who volunteered their time to allow the defenders to attend their party. We were optimistically expecting eighty security forces Airmen and family to attend but with all the Airmen volunteering to work for us it allowed the numbers to balloon to 150 plus! By all indications from the folks who've been here a while, it was the largest security forces turnout for a holiday party in at least eight to ten years. The party was a huge success and I could just feel the camaraderie and esprit de corps in the 319th Security Forces Squadron. It was awesome.

Friday night was truly an incredible display of second mile leadership, going above and beyond the normal sacrifices of our service to help others. It was humbling to see just how generous our "Airmen" can be. Volunteering on their day off to work a twelve hour shift was incredible but the story does not end here.

It is tradition to have squadron booster clubs work all year long holding fund raisers to make our holiday parties special. There are many great door prizes and each and every party is very special. The grand give away this year at the security forces party was a 47 inch TV. As luck would have it a Chief Master Sergeant select won the 47 inch TV. In true selfless style he asked our seven newest Airmen to come to the stage. These seven Airmen had just graduated that day from the First Term Airman Center. They wrote their names on their tickets and dropped them into a hat. Our chief (select) then pulled the lucky winner out of the hat. Wow, he just gave away a significant amount of money.

The TV winner, a brand new FTAC graduate and younger than two of my children, stepped up to the stage. He wanted to say a few words so the emcee gave him the mic and he stated, "I'm very blessed and have lots. I want to give it to my friend, and he mentioned the name of a fellow FTAC graduate, who does not have as much." Truly an awesome display of generosity and not what you would expect from an 18 year old Airman. It touched all in the room and brought tears of pride to my wife's eyes.
So where do we go from here? We go above and beyond to support the mission. We look internally to the group and realize every person and job is vital to our success. We ask how we can provide better, faster more efficient service to get our mission accomplished. We look externally and ask our operators, maintainers and medics what else can we do for you? How can we make your job easier? What can we do to provide you better service and improve your quality of life? This is the standard I expect from this group and I see it every day and I want to hear about it if we don't deliver. In the 319th Mission Support Group and the 319th Air Refueling Wing we live second mile leadership every day!