MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
As the world’s preeminent force in air, space and cyberspace, the Air Force requires diverse careers to provide support to the mission.
As a result, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, created the Shadow Program to help personnel gain a greater perspective into how each Airman and career field contributes to the Air Force’s mission.
Each month, Airmen from different squadrons visit each other typically for a day.
The MacDill Shadow Program mission statement is, “We are geared to provide wing Airmen firsthand experience and understanding of how other squadron Airmen contribute to the mission.”
Each shadow day, there is one junior and senior enlisted member recommended from the squadron participating during that time. The junior member typically spends the whole duty day, and the senior member usually a half-day, touring a different squadron and observing what Airmen within that squadron do.
Airman 1st Class Keith Hickson Jr., a cable and antenna maintenance technician assigned to the 6th Communications Squadron, visited the 6th Operations Support Squadron as the junior enlisted selectee. He toured various work areas during the day to include air traffic control, weather, and the Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape unit.
“The 6th OSS is an amazing squadron,” Hickson said. “I was able to learn how they maintain everything from getting flyers ready to fly, to getting them to their destination by examining the intelligence and weather that may cause complications during the flight.”
Currently, the Shadow Program is one of three lines of effort within the 6th Air Mobility Wing Team Building strategic initiative.
“We anticipate that the Airmen who shadow another unit will essentially become ambassadors and advocate for that shadowed unit,” said Lt. Col. Tiffany Morgan, the commander of the 6th Medical Support Squadron. “The Airmen educate those in their own unit about the shadowed unit’s mission, their challenges and similarities to their own unit.
“It is this shared perspective and knowledge that builds teamwork and intangibly increases the wing’s cohesiveness and mission effectiveness.”
As a whole, the center of the program evolves around the concept of team work.
“The goal of the Shadow Program is to build teamwork across the Wing by giving Airmen insight into another unit,” said Morgan. “If someone from one unit spends time in another unit, they gain an appreciation for how similar units really are or an understanding for how the units might differ, but they all are moving the mission forward.”