340th Flying Training Group hosts fall commanders’ summit
By Janis El Shabazz, 340th Flying Training Group Public Affairs
/ Published November 01, 2016
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas --
Commanders and senior staff from the 340th Flying Training Group’s seven geographically separated units, gathered here Sept. 12-16 for the annual fall commanders’ summit.
The 340th Flying Training Group, commanded by Col. Roger Suro, supports Air Education and Training Command's Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training, Joint Primary Pilot Training, Pilot Instructor Training, Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals, Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training, Basic Military Training and the United States Air Force Academy's Airmanship Programs.
The week-long summit opened with the presentation of Air Force Reserve Command's current events and a review of the commander’s vision to develop exceptional Airmen in the group. The central themes for the summit, “Commitment, Loyalty and Trust,” were highlighted during a presentation by Col. Joseph Rizzuto, director of the Air Force Profession of Arms Center of Excellence. PACE, located at JBSA-Randolph, builds and provides collaboration and coordination of Air Force professionalism strategy courses for Airmen, officers and civilians across the Air Force.
Rizzuto told the commanders that trust is the foundational piece of leadership. He said leaders have to flip the power role around. “People don’t automatically trust you because you have power,” Rizzuto said. “You have to earn that trust by taking the risk to get to know the people you lead, letting them get to know you and realizing that leaders are not there to be served but that the best leaders are servant leaders.”
Commander’s and staff from the seven GSUs provided feedback to Col. Suro and shared ‘best practice’ ideas during the various leadership and crosstalk breakout sessions. In attendance were senior staff from the 70th Flying Training Squadron at the Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado; the 5th Flying Training Squadron, Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma; the 97th Flying Training Squadron, Sheppard Air Force, Texas; the 433rd Flying Training Squadron, Lackland Air Force, Texas; the 43rd Flying Training Squadron, Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi; the 96th Flying Training Squadron, Del Rio, Texas and the 39th Flying Training Squadron, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas,
Suro said meeting face-to-face with GSU leaders helped solidify aspirations for a future structure that will create processes for innovation to enable members to increase efficiency, surpass standards and succeed as a team.
On day three of the summit the group travelled to JBSA-Fort Sam Houston for a team building event at the Warrior and Family Support Center. The WFSC provides a safe, stress-free environment away from the hospital where wounded warriors remaining at the Brooke Army Medical Center for extended rehabilitation for severe injuries and illnesses can reconnect with their families and work on restarting their lives.
The group pulled weeds, cut grass, trimmed bushes and gave an overall facelift to the therapeutic gardens and Freedom Park at the WFSC. The gardens and the park provide an expansive outdoor space designed to meet the needs of all types of physical challenges to help with the wounded warrior’s rehabilitation. There are also places to just walk, experience nature, relax and spend time alone with friends and family.
“The hundreds of wounded, ill and injured warriors who come here for treatment are overcoming some of the biggest difficulties of their lives,” said Suro. “We wanted to offer this small service to help improve the quality of life for these warriors and their family members.”
Suro said one of the biggest takeaways from the information shared throughout the summit was Rizzuto’s challenge to serve the ‘whole Airmen’. “He told us we could shape the perspective of the people we lead through organic leadership and self-discovery,” Suro said. “We are good at defining physical requirements, but as we grow the Airmen who will be tomorrow’s leaders we must focus on how we can help Airmen thrive mentally, spiritually and emotionally.”