Keep wing competitive for the future Published July 11, 2008 By Col Kevin Pottinger 301st Fighter Wing Fort Worth, TEXAS -- Where do you see yourself in the year 2016? Will you still be a 301 FW member or will you have moved on or retired by then? What vision do you see for the future of the wing and AFRC? Did you know the future of the 301 FW is in yours and my hands? Where we will be in 2016 has a lot to do with what we do now, how we conduct ourselves, and how we appear in 2008. Whether any of us plan to be around here in 2016, it is still important for us to take care of things now for the members of the future. We must be good caretakers of our wing to keep ourselves competitive with the rest of AFRC. Above all, we must be team players working together to make our wing strong. Based on current flight operations tempo, AFRC F-16s will be grounded around 2016. They will have flown 8000 hours which is their service life expectancy. A logical choice for replacing the F-16 is the F-35 Lightning (Joint Strike Fighter) which is being built by Lockheed across the runway. Since the Joint Strike Fighters are too expensive for the Air Force Reserve to purchase outright, the best means to bring them to the 301 FW is through the Active Associate Model. This model brings with it 150 active duty Airmen, primarily maintainers and a few pilots, enabling the 301 FW to perform a stand alone 120-day Aerospace Expeditionary Force. To prepare for this Active Associate Model we must continue to execute our 301 FW mission in our usual professional manner. You can help our wing be competitive by volunteering for AEFs, seeking military and civilian educational opportunities, and of course by maintaining and improving your fitness. Additionally, you must continue to fulfill your requirements of Individual Medical Readiness, Warrior Skills, and Ancillary training. All these areas will make you a better Airman which is so crucial to the success of the 301 FW and AFRC now and in the future. In closing, I think this quote from Theodore Roosevelt's speech, "The Man in the Arena" sums up the importance of why we need to take care of the 301 FW now for the future. If you consider that our wing is the same as his arena, I think you will be able to see where we need to go. It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; whose strives valiantly ... who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; whose spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.