86 AW command team talks new mission

The 86th Airlift Wing command team discussed their newly released mission, vision, and lines of effort during a radio interview with the American Forces Network Kaiserslautern at Vogelweh Military Complex, Feb. 5.

Brig. Gen. Josh Olson, 86th AW commander, and Command Chief Master Sgt. Hope Skibitsky gave some new insight into the new mission statement they released in a letter to the wing in late January.

While our mission is complex, we wanted to keep our mission statement simple, Olson explained. These three ideas are the essence of what we do here at Ramstein and why we’re here. The mission is all about what we do, the vision is where we want to go, and the lines of effort are how we’ll get there.

“Build Airmen, Project Power, and Support Partners” is the new mission statement for the 86th AW.

“Building Airmen is what we do as a profession,” said Olson, emphasizing the command team’s focus on their personnel.

The wing’s new vision is “Adaptive Airmen… Ready to Execute.”

“The vision maintains our focus on building Airmen,” said Skibitsky. “That’s truly what’s at the heart of everything we do at Ramstein. Every leader’s responsibility is to develop that next generation of Airmen. We have to be ready for the future fight.”

Olson and Skibitsky both agreed that they see a need for creativity and innovation as the wing continues to operate and adapt.

“When all of our Airmen are led, properly trained, equipped and resilient they are capable of adapting to any situation and overcoming any obstacle,” said Skibitsky. “Our focus is always on the how we will continue to accomplish the mission, and we do that by developing adaptive Airmen.”

Unlike previous mission statements, the command team made the decision to include unique lines of effort as a part of their new strategy.

The lines of effort supporting the new mission and vision are “Develop Airmen and Care for Families,” “Facilitate Installation Excellence,” and “Strengthen Relations with Joint and Allied Partners.”

“We were very intentional in using lines of effort versus priorities,” said Olson. Lines of effort are broader than singular priorities.

“Looking out for people is first because it’s where the success of our mission starts and ends.”

In practice, this looks like equipping our Airmen with skills for their lives inside and outside the Air Force, Olson explained.

“We need to modernize,” said Olson. Facilitating installation excellence looks like efficient and effective usage of the resources at the wing’s disposal.

Olson went on to highlight how joint and allied partnerships are foundational to the success of the Ramstein mission. Routinely engaging with exercises and missions across Europe and Africa is vital to building stronger relationships with partners we rely on.

The command team also addressed the meaning of readiness and professionalism.

“We’ve got to be proud of the fact that we are protecting and defending our nation,” Skibitsky said. “The way that we demonstrate that pride is through our professionalism.”

In addition to the wing’s new mission, the command team also stressed the importance of staying disciplined in the fight against COVID-19.

The pandemic has challenged and exhausted us in many ways, Skibitsky explained. It’s on leaders to set the right example and hold each other accountable. As we strive to be adaptive Airmen, we can’t forget to maintain readiness.

“Readiness is at the forefront of what we do every day. In that readiness is our discipline, and thus our accountability,” Skibitsky said.

For more information about the 86th Airlift Wing and Ramstein Air Base, visit Ramstein’s official base website at www.ramstein.af.mil. The 86th AW conducts U.S. Air Forces in Europe’s only airlift, airdrop and aeromedical evacuation flying operations, providing rapid mobility and expeditionary combat support for military operations.