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  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Dorneen Shipp
  • 927th Maintenance Group commander
It's time for us to galvanize. These are the redundant words of my favorite running tune.

The true definition of the word galvanize involves a chemical-electroplating of steel or iron with zinc to make it ultimately corrosion proof.

My interpretation is simply to come together to become stronger. On many occasions, I have reflected upon how these simple lyrics remind me of our efforts here at MacDill Air Force Base in the concept we all call Total Force Integration.

Initially, I reflected upon the success of our 2011 Operational Readiness Inspection. Basically, we merged two wings into one large team to prove our combat readiness.

From the first moment we realized there were numerous challenges. How would we build the leadership team that was representative of both the 6th Air Mobility Wing and the 927th Air Refueling Wing?

In the maintenance world, this process began with setting small teams to tasks such as after-attack sweeps, facility management and aircraft decontamination. One constraint that was evident up-front was how much time we need to train together when the ORI is one year out?

For a traditional reservist, participation is limited to one drill weekend per month and two weeks a year (a grand total of 36 days to train and perform). For regular active duty Air Force, one year away means something much different as they are technically on duty 365 days a year. It was incumbent on us to find the sweet spot and agree upon a timeline that would give our combined small teams enough practice together to perform at their best.

Since our TFI efforts began at MacDill in 2007, we have merged together on many fronts.

The two wings have combined numerous shop, squadron and group-level memorandums into one comprehensive operating instruction. We have demonstrated excellence evident by positive inspections and exercise results. Each task at hand has involved countless incremental planning phases, compromises, and the search for optimally synergistic solutions.

Another reflection on the process of teams having "galvanized" is found within maintenance. There is a robust emphasis put on the Dedicated Crew Chief program. Specifically, our attempt to improve the appearance of MacDill assigned KC-135 aircraft by implementing a program we call the "focus aircraft."

Our approach was to ask each DCC to lead by example and the results have been fantastic. Many key leaders have emphasized the long-term value of keeping one-crew chief dedicated to his or her assigned aircraft.

The DCC program involves everything from tracking delayed discrepancies (write-ups that can only be worked when there's some scheduled maintenance time) to replacing worn carpet, lap-belts, shoulder harnesses, boom pod pads, damaged floor-boards, cargo nets, head-rest cushions and even vacuuming the cargo compartment.

Additionally, each crew-chief gets an opportunity to plan for a week of his aircraft being the focus aircraft. During this process, he's responsible for organizing all of the manpower and material resources to get the necessary maintenance completed and make additional authorized improvements to his aircraft.

All in all, it's a remarkable opportunity for one individual to demonstrate what we refer to as pride of ownership to the aircraft for which he or she is the DCC.

We gain valuable experience when we strategically plan toward a result that combines the strengths of each organization as well as each individual. What each and every one of you do as an individual to take pride in your job is important.

However, it is even more relevant that your efforts come together in a way that makes us stronger and improves our mission success. Together, we are stronger.