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Facility managers: the key to base appearance

By Lt. Col. Dave Chisenhall 2d Civil Engineer Squadron commander

The majority of the Air Force's functional communities have a program they lead; however, the success of the program largely depends on support from the base as a whole.

The 2d Security Forces Squadron runs our ready augmentee program to ensure base safety and the 2d Force Support Squadron leads our Base Honor Guard efforts to ensure protocol functions are supported with dignity. The 2d Civil Engineer Squadron bears the same weight.

Facility managers are critical components of the repair and maintenance of our base infrastructure. These frequently unsung heroes are our entry point to help our customers identify, prioritize and schedule work in-and-on our facilities. In this sense, facility managers are our first line of defense for facility repairs. However, they do not solely play defense.

"The best defense is a good offense," has been attributed to many famous leaders from Vince Lombardi to Carl von Clausewitz. Regardless of who actually said it, the saying holds a great deal of truth in human endeavors from football to war. It rings equally true for base appearance.

As we continue Barksdale's transformation into the newest major command installation (like Randolph AFB, Peterson AFB, Langley AFB, Scott AFB, etc.), our facility managers play a vital role on offense. These superstars must lead from the front. They are the eyes and ears of the squadron commander or civilian equivalent. They are the critical link in not only identifying facility repairs, but also in spotting and executing basic housekeeping around our facilities. That is not to say they must do all the work, but these leaders should work with squadron leadership and senior non-commissioned officers to coordinate the efforts.

I challenge squadron leadership to spend 10 minutes walking around your buildings, outside and inside, with your facility managers. It will reap great unit pride dividends as well as help you identify needed resources. Perhaps most eminently, it will show the importance of our facility managers.