Spreading our wings in the military

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Shane Fountain
  • 9th Medical Support Squadron
From the time you joined the service, to this point in your career, this article is about using the tools and skills that the military provides you in order to rise to the challenge. You may not truly realize that you have the capability until the opportunity presents itself.

I'm fortunate to serve as the Medical Support Squadron superintendent, which for me is the job of jobs. The training I received for this job occurred throughout my career, i.e. tech school, seven level school, Airman Leadership School and the NCO Academy. I learned other leadership and communication abilities as I developed as a supervisor, on the flight line working on the U-2s and in other duty assignments. When I was first offered the job of superintendent I was probably a little apprehensive. However, I can tell you that the Air Force prepared me for this new role based on my previous training and experience. All it took was for the opportunity to present itself so that I could demonstrate my abilities to lead.

One opportunity I want to share with you is when I was the Federal Coordinating Center Manager for the National Disaster Medical System at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. In this role, I was responsible for coordinating a two day FCC exercise that tests the ability to coordinate civilian patient care when resources are overwhelmed in a mass casualty situation.

To understand the scope of this event, I coordinated participation from: three state Emergency Management Agencies, seven Disaster Medical Assistance Teams, 18 Medical Facilities, two C-130 aircraft and 370 volunteers.

This was a monumental undertaking and was a perfect opportunity for me to grow as I coordinated with people in several positions at the local and state government level. To be honest, I really never knew how much I could accomplish as an Air Force technical sergeant. The part I want to drive home with you is that I was not alone. I noticed team participants growing in their roles and responsibilities who also wanted to succeed. They had the capability but just needed a chance to put their skills to the test. This leads me to the title "Spreading our wings in the military" as this event allowed me to see the fruits of our labor and validated my ability to apply newly discovered leadership skills in future tasks.

Don't look at tasks as impossible. First, breathe through both nostrils and think for a few moments. Get others to help out where you need it and then press forward. Remember you can solve most problems with the right planning, communication and good teamwork. So when the opportunity arises "Spread Your Wings" and have confidence that you can get the job done!