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Taking ownership

PETERSON AFB, Colo. -- I've already mentioned several times since assuming command that flawless operations within the 21st Space Wing is the standard, not the goal. But how have we been able to accomplish this? It certainly does not happen just because we want it to.

Although it would be difficult to answer these questions with one simple response, I believe there is a binding philosophy that makes it all happen. That binding philosophy is called taking "ownership."

Taking ownership occurs when, no matter what the task, someone behaves as if something belongs to them. Taking ownership is literally taking the initiative to make something happen because you genuinely care about what you are doing.

Identifying someone with this mindset is not difficult. Whether it is picking up a piece of trash on the sidewalk, working a 14-hour day because of a short suspense coming due, or reminding a young child to wear a helmet while skateboarding; opportunities abound on taking ownership of a situation. In fact, throughout the past two weeks, I've met several individuals who have demonstrated exactly this type of characteristic.

Senior Airman Richard Doughman, 21st Maintenance Group, clearly took ownership when he went out of his way to help a customer with after-hours communication support. His professionalism, expertise and competence were instrumental in solving the problem within minutes.

Airman 1st Class Asmar Nixon and Tech. Sgt. Chamara Cantrell, 21st Medical Group, have also shown that they know what it is to take ownership. Airman Nixon did such an outstanding job leading my medical group orientation tour that you would never know he had only been assigned here for seven months. Sergeant Cantrell is the subject matter expert for infection control and sterilization in the 21st Medical Group, and also well known as a junior enlisted leader throughout the wing.

And just in the last week, I witnessed two individuals who have taken ownership to a new level: Master Sgt. Dwayne Lipscomb of the 821st Support Squadron and Master Sgt. Derek Crist of the 21st Civil Engineer Squadron. 

Sergeant Lipscomb, whom I met during my recent visit to the 821st ABG at Thule Air Base, Greenland, is responsible for running the power plant. It is clearly "his" power plant and he volunteered to extend his one year tour to personally articulate the importance of his plant and its needs to AFSPC leadership.

Sergeant Crist was the military point of contact for the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo. He did an amazing job managing the military volunteers from all of the surrounding military bases to support the rodeo. It was a huge undertaking and he pulled it off.

The proof of taking ownership comes with the exemplary nature of what we accomplish on a daily basis: conducting world class space superiority operations, providing unsurpassed installation support, and deploying Warrior Airmen. I encourage each of you to continue the outstanding work and maintain that positive example so that others may learn to appreciate what it is to take ownership.