Be an Expert in Your Specialty Published Aug. 14, 2013 By Colonel David Brooks 127th Air Refueling Group Commander SELFRIDGE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mich. -- I'm glad that I have an opportunity to express some thoughts to the wing this month, just as we execute our wing-wide SAPR training in August. I have served in the Air Force, first as a cadet and now as an officer, for over 27 years. In that time, I can never recall so many training demands, and I imagine most of you feel likewise. All of our training is very important. For example, this month's SAPR training is a critical element to the future of the force. It reminds all members of the paramount importance to treat all others with dignity and respect; to actively engage in making our operating environment free from sexual assault. I cannot think of a more important message at any time; but especially now, as the DoD works through some of these recently highlighted issues. As Airmen, we are subject to a lot of training requirements, many of which are recurring, and most of which are required to maintain our readiness. We can never overlook these requirements, but we can actively strive for smarter and more efficient ways to meet these requirements. As with all things, Airmen have an uncanny knack for finding efficiencies and doing things smartly. Ancillary training is just another example. We all look forward to approval on a revision to our ANG ancillary training practices as proposed by Col Augustine; prompting a comprehensive pentagon-level review of our training requirements. Meanwhile, we as Airmen are primarily responsible to our mission. Each of us, officer and enlisted alike, has specific and often technically-advanced roles to play in the wing's mission. My message to you is this: never lose sight of your Air Force specialty! Each Airman should be 100% focused and "game-on" when executing the duties of their primary AFSC. Communicate early and often to your supervisor when you require additional repetition of these skills. Constantly assess your own competence level, and lean on each other for expert advice, insight, and lessons-learned. When you are uncomfortable or unsure of your technical skills, make certain you work hard to communicate these concerns and address the any deficiencies. This shows intuition, awareness, and maturity to identify your own weaknesses and make sure they are addressed. I look forward to sharpening my technical skills as an Airman with your support and professional example.