News>Major General Patrick answers questions about the 2nd AF role in the bigger mission
Maj. Gen. Leonard Patrick speaks to airman at a commander's call April 8th at Sheppard Air Force base in a theater auditorium. Patrick spoke on the 2nd Air Force mission and how airman fit into the overall Air Force mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jelani Gibson)
by Airman 1st Class Jelani Gibson
82nd Training Wing Public Affairs
4/10/2013 - SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Maj. Gen. Leonard A. "Len" Patrick is the Commander of the Second Air Force at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. He is responsible for the development, oversight, and direction of all operational aspects of basic military training, initial skills training, and advanced technical training for the U.S. Air Force enlisted force and support officers.
General Patrick entered the Air Force in 1981 as a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy. He served in various base level and headquarters assignments. His commands include the 502nd Air Base Wing, JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, Texas; the 37th Training Wing at Lackland AFB, Texas; the 60th Mission Support Group at Travis AFB, Calif.; and the 12th Civil Engineer Squadron at Randolph AFB, Texas. He has twice served as a major command director, including the Director of Installations and Mission Support at Air Mobility Command, Scott AFB, Ill., and the Civil Engineer at Air Education and Training Command, Randolph AFB. Prior to this assignment, he served as Commander, 502nd Air Base Wing, JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, Texas. (bio courtesy of USAF)
He sat down with the 82nd Training Wing Public Affairs office to talk about what the 2nd Air Force is doing to meet the core values of today's Air force and the role that airman play in the overall mission.
How can Airmen help sustain 2nd Air Force's ability to retain, train, and equip airman as we work through our current fiscal challenges?
I use the term Airman with a capital A. That means those that are Non-Commissioned Officers, civilians and contractors. What I would ask folks to do is to come to work every day, do their job and put everything into what they do. Our job is to train, educate and put airman in the field to support the fight. When I get around the command I'm enthusiastic about all the things that I see and I like the enthusiasm the Airmen bring to the fight.
How is 2nd Air Force working to ensure that Airmen have a positive and safe environment in which to work and train?
I think you've seen over the past year we've taken feedback from Airmen. We've looked at gaps in policies dealing with leadership, institutional safeguards and the culture of that environment. We've taken that feedback and made policies to close those (gaps). We know that those who aim to skirt our policies could adapt and may look for gaps in our new policies, so we're constantly looking at our procedures whether they be fiscal, procedural or command authority related. We want to make sure that the parents who send us their sons and daughters are being sent to an environment in which they can be safe and proud to be an Airman.
What role does innovation play in training the Airman of today and tomorrow? How can we foster such innovation?
I think if you look at how General Rice has rolled out the culture of cost consciousness; that is not a bumper sticker that is the way we need to think about being innovative and delivering training. The Airman has to be actively involved in the learning process and take on their own responsibilities. We have to shape the training environment to what the Airman need. They like self-paced learning, different technologies, online and classroom interaction. We have to be able to look for ways to give Airmen time. I'm talking about not wasting Airmen's time on redundant things like teaching initial skills Airmen something they aren't going to use for four or five years. Creating this cost conscious culture from the Airman that's at the gate to the Airman in the control tower, Airmen need to look for a way to be efficient.
What is your most urgent priority when it comes to training and equipping Airman to achieve the Air Force mission?
My most urgent mission today is to assure folks that we will be here in the future to train the Airman of tomorrow. We're in an environment where the DoD and the U.S.A is looking where the budgets have been in the past and bringing in fiscal realities as far as where society is going and where our nation is headed. I need to get the word out that we're still going to educate young Airmen to do their job. We're going to train young men and woman for their vocation. As I progress through my role as 2nd Air Force commander I need to ensure that the workforce knows that their needs are going to be taken care of.