Lt. Gen. Robin Rand, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) commander, visited Luke Air Force Base May 17 where he held an officer’s call and was the guest speaker at the 308th Fighter Squadron graduation. During the officer’s call, Rand discussed his priorities of mission, Airmen and families. He also shared his thoughts on the Air Force Core Values.
“The mission is what it’s all about,” Rand said. “I’m so proud of what you do here at Luke Air Force Base. We’re working you hard, and it’s not getting any easier. I want to personally thank you for what you do.”
He then talked about how leaders should be invested in and take care of their Airmen.
“I used to say that you can’t let things be personal,” Rand said. “I’ve changed. It’s personal. Are your Airmen personal to you? Are you intrusive? Do you lead intrusively? Do you know about and care about them? Are their successes your successes and do you share in their failures?
That’s personal leadership. That’s what we need. Take care of your Airmen.”
Rand talked about the importance of families and how they continue to make sacrifices for those who are in the fight each day.
“We serve,” he said. “It’s my belief however, that families sacrifice. So that’s a big priority for me. Whatever time I have left in the Air Force, I will try to do what I can to establish advocacies for our families.”
Finally, Rand talked about core values.
“These have become more important to me the older I’ve become,” Rand said. “I love them for their simplicity. Integrity, service and excellence. We really don’t need any other metrics to measure ourselves by.”
Airmen should represent the Air Force with class and dignity by upholding the core values, he said.
Rand then emphasized additional items that are important to him. He said Airmen should strive to tell the Air Force story while living by the Airman’s Creed; be a good wingman and take care of one another by not being a mere bystander to sexual assaults and by combating suicide.
He challenged those in attendance to not only tell their own stories of success, but to also tell the Air Force story.
“What it takes to do what we do and what we bring to the fight is important,” he said. “Luke Air Force Base and the 56th Fighter Wing have one of the richest heritages in the Air Force. What is your legacy? Be mindful of your legacy, know your legacy and let it inspire you so that you will be motivated to form your own as equal as or better than those who went before us.”
Rand went on to talk about being a good wingman.
“Why do we say ‘Be a good wingman?’” Rand asked. “Go back to your legacy. (The term) wingman has been forged in blood, sweat and tears since the 1940s during World War II when there was a 40-percent attrition rate on our B-17s and B-24s. Do you know how we cut that in half? We put P-38s and P-51s on the bombers’ wing. Be a good wingman; it’s who we are.”
Rand discussed the ongoing fight against sexual assault and suicide in the military.
“I don’t have the solution, but I know where the solution is,” he said. “You’re the solution. Regarding sexual assaults today, the facts are that the majority of these crimes involve 18- to 26-year-olds, male on female; Airman on Airman, acquaintances, coworkers or friends; and the majority involve alcohol.”
Rand said to mitigate the problem these statistics reveal, leaders need to step up and educate their people, have those tough discussions, and ensure Airmen know high risk behaviors will end up destroying lives and careers.
“We’ve got to get a hold of this,” he said. “None of us have the right to desecrate fellow Airmen. That doesn’t fit with our core values. We can fix it. Let’s fix it.”
Before closing, Rand reiterated his priorities and the importance of leaders taking care of their Airmen.
“Every day make sure your Airmen know you care,” he said. “It’s not hard. Don’t try to trick them because they will know when you are insincere. They need to know you care. Reward them when they do well and hold them accountable when they need improvement. If we do that, we can get after some of those unpleasant topics.”
Rand thanked Luke Airmen for what they do each day to complete the mission.
“Thank you,” he said. “Thank you for your service and thanks for you leadership.”