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Rescue group hosts strategic alignment event

Key leaders from the 920th Rescue Wing discuss aligning the wing’s mission, vision, goals and priorities during a strategic alignment event at the 943rd Rescue Group, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., March 8. Based at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., the 920th RQW is the only Air Force Reserve Command combat-search-and-rescue unit. This was the first time Col. Kurt Matthews, 920th RQW commander, visited the group since taking command in December 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. Anna-Marie Wyant)

Key leaders from the 920th Rescue Wing discuss aligning the wing’s mission, vision, goals and priorities during a strategic alignment event at the 943rd Rescue Group, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., March 8. Based at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., the 920th RQW is the only Air Force Reserve Command combat-search-and-rescue unit. This was the first time Col. Kurt Matthews, 920th RQW commander, visited the group since taking command in December 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. Anna-Marie Wyant)

Leaders from the 920th Rescue Wing convene during a strategic alignment event at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., March 8. Based at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., the 920th RQW is the only Air Force Reserve Command combat-search-and-rescue wing. The 943rd RQG is a geographically-separated unit composed of operational, Guardian Angel, and support squadrons. The purpose of the event was to align the wing’s mission, vision, goals and priorities. (U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. Anna-Marie Wyant)

Leaders from the 920th Rescue Wing convene during a strategic alignment event at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., March 8. Based at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., the 920th RQW is the only Air Force Reserve Command combat-search-and-rescue wing. The 943rd RQG is a geographically-separated unit composed of operational, Guardian Angel, and support squadrons. The purpose of the event was to align the wing’s mission, vision, goals and priorities. (U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. Anna-Marie Wyant)

DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- Leadership and key personnel from the 920th Rescue Wing gathered to discuss the wing’s mission, vision, priorities and more during a strategic alignment event here March 7-8.

Col. Kurt Matthews, 920th Rescue Wing commander, brought together leaders within the wing and the 943rd Rescue Group headquarters here for the two-day meeting.

“We looked at where we want to be three years from now and brought senior leadership from across the wing together to get on the same page,” Matthews said. “By going through this process, we identified the state of the wing and got consensus on our goals and priorities.”

The 943rd RQG is a geographically separated unit of the 920th RQW, which is headquartered at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida. Matthews, who took command of the wing in December, said the purpose of this event was to develop the wing’s new mission and vision statements, determine the priorities, goals and objectives, share his leadership philosophy, identify areas for improvement and solutions, and get buy-in from key wing personnel. Matthews said he strives to lead by the philosophy of “mission-focused servant leadership,” and wants his priorities and goals to reflect that.

“We need to take care of the Airmen who are doing the mission,” he said.

Matthews said he was satisfied with the outcome of the event and believes each of the 15 participants added value.

“Everyone did an outstanding job contributing,” Matthews said. “At the end of the day, everyone realized that the way we are now focused and moving toward the future captures all of our agenda items and all of our personal goals. Different commanders’ challenges and priorities fit under this construct of how we are going to achieve our priorities and goals as a wing.”

Tom Ades, a continuous process improvement specialist contracted by Air Force Reserve Command, facilitated the event and led the group through the process of aligning the wing’s vision, goals and priorities with its mission and higher headquarters’ priorities. Ades said having wing leadership that is open to continuous improvement and positive change is imperative to mission success.

“Colonel Matthews gets it,” Ades said. “As the commander he has taken this to heart, and I think the wing will be better for it.”

Col. John Beatty, 943rd RQG commander, hosted the event, which comprised participants primarily from Patrick AFB. He said he was happy to host wing leadership and thinks it was beneficial for his Airmen to get some visibility from headquarters.

“The hard thing here is that most of my people will never go to Patrick,” Beatty said. “Knowing the wing exists is one thing, but getting them to truly embrace and internalize the wing mission and vision truly comes from the wing commander.”

Beatty said Matthews’ presence this week helped his Airmen feel more connected to the wing and showed them leadership is interested in how they support the mission. He said the new mission and vision statements will further help connect them to headquarters.

Matthews plans to unveil the wing’s new mission and vision statements at a commander’s call at Patrick during the April unit training assembly. He said communication is a challenge and an opportunity, but he believes the messages will resonate with Airmen across the wing.

The 920th RQW, Air Force Reserve Command’s only combat search and rescue wing, also has personnel at Portland Air National Guard Base, Oregon, and Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia.

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