One team, one fight

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. -- "One Team, One Fight" is an often-used term, used to either describe cooperation between armed services or the integration of Guard, Reserve and active forces into our nation's defense. 

"One Team, One Fight" takes on a totally new meaning at the 314th Medical Group. It integrates a force of less than 200 active-duty members, another 50 government civilian employees, 75 contract employees, teamed with a volunteer contingent 40-plus strong into a high-performing, cohesive team of health care professionals. 

You can tell by my words how proud I am to be a part of this team. When I walk down the halls at the clinic and I encounter my teammates, I don't see a military member, a civilian employee, contractor or a volunteer - I see a valued member of our health care team. While civilians have been an integral part of our military team throughout our Air Force's 60-year history, the reliance on contractors and volunteers to meet our mission continues to grow. 

In fact, I contend we could not accomplish our mission without them. The most obvious evidence is when you drive through the base gate and you are greeted by contract gate guards. Who would have imagined that 10 years ago? From the time you make your
appointment, to the time you pick up your prescription at the pharmacy, more than likely you will have been served by a military, civilian, contractor and volunteer through the process. 

I will also bet you never gave it a thought - it's transparent. For that, we're fortunate.
Our Air Force today is half the size it was when I joined in 1986, but our operations tempo has not diminished. Without our civilian, contract and volunteer teammates we could not accomplish what we take for granted each and every day. 

My squadron was approximately two-thirds military and one-third civilian, contractors and volunteers when I arrived in January 2005. During that same time period, our medical deployments have grown two and one-half times. 

When I relinquish command, that mix will have flip-flopped to one-third military and two-thirds civilian, contractors and volunteers. More than likely, you never noticed the transformation. 

Think about that when you drive through the gate, when you make your medical appointment, when you see your doctor, when you get your lab tests accomplished and when your head hits the pillow each night. Though the rules, recognition programs, pay and benefits vary among our team, the dedication, patriotism and commitment to service does not. 

"One team, one fight!"