Commentary -- We are MAKO proud
By Col. David P. Garfield, 482nd Fighter Wing commander
/ Published September 26, 2016
HOMESTEAD AIR RESERVE BASE, Fla. -- What makes the 482nd Fighter Wing the world’s greatest?
A lot of changes have occurred in the last year that have put us on the precipice of greatness. And, for that, I wanted to share with each of you some observations I’ve had on this wing, the Airmen, and the mission that have solidified our reputation. My hope is that when you finish reading this, you will understand why we are ‘The’ World’s Greatest Fighter Wing and you will have the same pride in this wing that I do.
On Sept. 16, the base turned 74 years old. And for 74 years we have led the way in mission accomplishment and fighter aircraft flown. We are proud of that. We are consistently chosen, based on who we are, to fly the world’s greatest jets. The Makos support, maintain, and fly the plane that every Undergraduate Pilot Training student dreams of flying. They dream of coming to Homestead to fly the F-16 Fighting Falcon and be supported by you—that should make you proud!
I’ve seen Airmen in this wing accept nothing but the best from themselves and others and I stand in awe of them. They are the epitome of a Mako and the Air Force Core Values of “Excellence in all We Do” and “Service Before Self.” I really have never seen anything like it. They literally live these core values and pledge to themselves not to accept “average.” I’ve also seen others who don’t live up to mission expectations because they’ve insisted on priorities that are not conducive for a winning team. Therefore, they are encouraged to move on to find an average wing to support.
Average is a bad word in this wing. When you stop accepting average then you begin being elite. At times your body and mind are telling you to stop. You hit the edge, your limit. However, today you have a chance to change that and step up to the challenge. You can’t be afraid of the edge or the challenges it presents.
There is no more average in this wing. When urgency is needed, you plant your foot on the ground and you give 110 percent! The edge is not going to the edge and saying I’m good, I’m average. When you’re elite, you exhibit elite effort, that energy that raises the rest of the team to a higher level of performance. With that elite effort we establish a superior identity and that identity is what makes us succeed as The World’s Greatest Fighter Wing.
I’ve see that effort in your drive for the pure honor of bringing out the best in yourself. You are Elite Warriors. Mako strong in what you do, how you do it, and why you do it. You have a mindset that drives behavior and creates action. You think you can and we see the results every day in this wing.
Mako Airmen know they can! They believe in themselves and are making things happen all around them. They are proud of the wing, their military, and their country—and I am proud of them!
I believe in every member of this wing and that you each have it in you to be Mako Proud. Most of you are showing that now, some of you—not yet. But I’m not worried. I know that those who take pride in this wing, who push themselves to do their best at work and at home, I know that you will bring your wingmen with you.
You will not allow them to bring you down, but will bring them up! Up to your level of expectation and excitement in this wing. If you’re elite, you grab your teammate, drag them, push them over that edge and across that finish line, up to your level of performance and pride in what you do. And along the way, you will mentor them to understand who we are. We are Mako Proud. We are ‘The’ World’s Greatest Fighter Wing!