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Mission: Possible

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Vito Smyth
  • 379th Expeditionary Medical Support Squadron commander
At the risk of showing how truly long in the tooth I am, I can distinctly remember the classic American television series Mission: Impossible. The main character Dan Briggs, and later Jim Phelps, would usually receive their instructions via a pre-recorded tape message that would subsequently self-destruct. The message, after first explaining the current situation, would usually end with the iconic phrase , “Your mission, should you choose to accept it,” followed by a short description of the mission; a wish of good luck, and the smoke rising from the tape machine indicating that the tape had been destroyed forever. High drama indeed, especially for a youngster.

Reminiscing on those scenes got me thinking about the idea of mission. All of us who call the Air Force home have been through some form of informal and formal professional military education and training classes. Most, if not all of them, stress the importance of mission. Everything that is taught in these courses, and more pointedly everything we do in our work every day, no matter where we are, is done for the singular purpose of accomplishing the mission whatever that mission may be.

In an interesting sort of way, by volunteering to join the Air Force, we are like the main characters from that classic show. We’ve chosen to accept the mission that is asked of us, despite the personal and professional sacrifices to us and our families. Just being deployed here is clearly indicative of that.

Our mission here at the Grand Slam Wing is to deliver reliable, agile and responsive airpower; sustain regional presence; and partner with Qatar and mission partners for the future. How do we do that? Clearly we don’t all do the same thing. But have you ever seen the inside of a classic watch? It’s made of a myriad of gears, springs, and wheels of different shapes and sizes. However, if just one of those parts doesn’t function correctly, the watch doesn’t work. It doesn’t matter the size or the perceived importance of the part, because every single part matters. Our units here are like the parts of a watch, performing different functions but working together to make sure we accomplish the mission. For a watch, it is telling the correct time. For us, it’s airpower.

Remember, whatever you are doing here matters. You’ve chosen to accept our mission here at the Grand Slam Wing. In doing so, you are proving that you are so much more valuable than any ageless Swiss timepiece.