Seven bases, seven days: 501st CSW commander’s calls unveil Year of the Pathfinder

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Eugene Oliver
  • 501st Combat Support Wing

RAF Alconbury, England--

U.S. Air Force Col. Kurt Wendt, 501st Combat Support Wing commander, held a series of commander’s calls with Airmen and civilian personnel from all seven installations within the wing, Jan. 24-30.

Wendt and Chief Master Sgt. Daniel Keene, 501st CSW command chief, highlighted their plans for a new initiative called Year of the Pathfinder, along with their vision for the future of the Wing.

“2020 is the Year of the Pathfinder, and we’re going to emphasize what it means to be a Pathfinder across our wing throughout the year,” said Wendt. “Our wing annual awards, Air Force ball and various other events throughout the year are going to be featured around our heritage and are going to pay respect to our past.”

Year of the Pathfinder is a year-long initiative that aims to revolutionize the Wing's identity and raise the bar for Wing readiness, resilience, innovation, professionalism, and connectedness. The 501st CSW’s mission and vision remain at the core of the effort.

 “Our mission is very clear and our vision for the wing is three things: enable combat operations, engage with our joint international partners and enhance quality of life for our personnel and their families,” said Wendt.

In each event, attendees heard firsthand from the leadership team as they detailed their vision and direction for the year ahead and defined what Year of the Pathfinder really meant.

“We are going to focus on our readiness throughout the year,” said Wendt. “We are going to improve on our readiness through a series of exercises that require us to train like we have not trained before. We have to be ready. The world has changed and there are new ways that our potential adversaries can threaten us, and we need to up our game.”

After laying out the groundwork for the wing’s plans to increase unit readiness, Keene spoke on the importance of resiliency, personal readiness and looking out for your fellow Pathfinder.

“Throughout this Year of the Pathfinder, focus intentionally on your personal resiliency and work to build resiliency in your fellow Pathfinders,” said Keene.  “One thing is for sure - that we will all face hardships in our lives.”  “We must consistently focus on our resiliency within our daily lives so that we will be equipped to navigate difficult times and emerge a stronger person on the other side.

“Some areas to consider while building your resilience are focusing on your Spiritual, Mental, and Physical well-being." “A balanced approach in these areas of your life will enhance your ability to deal with adversity.”    

Other topics shared with personnel included the Air Force’s initiative to encourage innovation amongst Airmen.

“Pathfinders are innovative; it is up to us to move forward and test new ideas to do things faster, better and smarter,” said Wendt. “Innovation is something we need to encourage, and as a Pathfinder it’s up to you to push your Airmen and team members to come up with new innovative ideas to push the AF further. Innovation is how we move forward and get better.”

Keene addressed the importance of Airmen conduct and professionalism within the local community.

“Part of being a professional is knowing and understanding what the standards are and complying by them and also enforcing them with those around you,” said Keene. “Being a member of the profession of arms requires us to understand and recognize the responsibilities and expectations levied on us.

When we are immersed with the culture, we expect you to set a good example as ambassadors for the U.S. Air Force and the American people in the local community.”

Wendt ended by expressing gratitude to the Pathfinder family for the work they do and also highlighting the impact of visiting and immersing with Airmen from seven bases in seven days.

“Every single one of you are a part of the Pathfinder family,” said Wendt. “That’s the identity that we are trying to build, and we appreciate the hard work that every single of you puts out every day.

It’s been a true pleasure to speak with Airmen from our seven installations this past week and it’s an honor to serve alongside each and every one of you.”