In all we do Published Oct. 21, 2021 By Airman 1st Class Joshua Hastings 6th Air Refueling Wing/Public Affairs MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The U.S. Air Force has a proud history of winning, attributable to the commitment of its Airmen who execute their duties with excellence. What does it mean to be excellent? Why has the Air Force adopted and personified ‘Excellence in all we do’ as one of their core values? Though this core value was officially recognized over 20 years ago, ‘Excellence’ has been a staple of the Air Force since 1947. Airmen of the 6th Air Refueling Wing located at MacDill Air Force Base are no exception to this standard. The members of the 6th ARW ensure MacDill’s ability to deliver unmatched air refueling and installation support. MacDill’s refueling capabilities enable the air assets of the Defense Department and partner nations to travel freely without the need of a safe haven on land. For U.S. Air Force Col. Cory Damon, 6th ARW vice commander, excellence comes from the mentality of constantly honing one’s skills and reaching for higher standards. “Excellence to me is not an end goal,” Damon said. “It’s a stepping stone to achieve greater success through continuous learning and improvement.” Damon added that trust is formed when members are all reaching for excellence and that mindset is a key component to MacDill’s success. “At MacDill, our operational KC-135 mission, our installation support to critical mission partners, and our necessity to provide strategic deterrence against near peer competitors is vital for our nation’s defense,” Damon said. “Our mutual trust in the pursuit of excellence provides care for our members and mission success.” In-flight refueling specialists, commonly referred to as boom operators, are the Airmen responsible for extending the reach of America’s strategic fleet by supplying fuel to aircraft midair. Senior Airman Kylie Strawser with the 50th Air Refueling Squadron exhibits excellence with her duties as a boom operator through constantly training to improve her skills. “Performing with excellence is important as a KC-135 boom operator for safety, efficiency and personal growth,” said Strawser. “Being a part of an aircrew requires particular attention to not only keep yourself safe, but your crewmembers as well.” Strawser said that aircraft receiving fuel are approximately 50 feet or closer to the KC-135 Stratotanker during the entirety of the refueling process, and that failing to pay attention or think critically could cause a mid-air collision. With the inherent dangers of midair refueling, being excellent is imperative for both safety and mission success. “As a boom operator, there are many people relying on your ability to perform the mission,” said Strawser. “As an individual, creating a culture of excellence will help you grow and promote growth in others along the way.” The Airmen of yesterday embraced excellence as a standard of conduct, and that standard will continue to be foundational to the Airmen of today and the Airmen of tomorrow.