Blinding flash of the obvious: Building a lifestyle

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey -- The secret of Incirlik is its sense of community.

Close to 6,000 people within the confines of five-square miles serving the interests of the 10th Tanker

Command and 39th Air Base Wing, the 2nd Turkish Air Force and U.S. Air Force's in Europe, the
Turkish General Staff and European Command, the Government of Turkey and Government of the United States ... close to 6,000 people working together every day.

It is said that all politics is local ... applied to the 'Lik' it comes down to focus on the mission and our community. Without exception every visitor that leaves Incirlik always remarks that they would like to come back here to live with us ... the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, Gerald Murray and his wife, just said it last week. The reason is easy to see and as plain as the nose on our faces ... it's the people and our service to each other!

It's a BFO ... (blinding flash of the obvious), but often it takes someone from outside of our community to point it out.

Somehow we all get along, somehow we don't have functional "rice-bowls," somehow we make it work. I am often asked to explain the "somehow" and usually offer one of several different explanations.

Maybe it is because the majority of us live next to each other, maybe it's because we have a fence around our base, maybe it's because we are small, maybe it's because we share missions, maybe it's because of all of these things together or maybe it's because we all care. I like the explanation that we cultivate a culture of caring by leveraging the other "maybes."

Every service that we offer on this installation is supported by our community as either givers or receivers. Our services squadron team leads the way in ensuring that we have the relevant supporting connective tissue throughout our community both to our accompanied and unaccompanied populations.

Beyond providing the basic connective tissue, it is the cross-functional associations between our services squadron and the rest of our support activities that generates the real power from an organizational standpoint.

Another analogy might be a five-lane highway ... our services squadron is the middle lane and the two lanes on the right and left could be the chapel, education, extra curricular activities, AAFES and commissary lanes. In this analogy, the vehicles change lanes and the traffic flow moves along toward a destination which in our case is support to the community.

It is our ability to coordinate the lane changes that sets our services functions apart from other main operating bases. It is our ability to see the ultimate delivery of support to our community as a cross functional objective and to give and receive as neighbors and not merely producers and consumers, that underpins our sense of community.

Service with a smile, giving assistance without being asked, working together, playing together, living together ... these are our lifestyle building blocks and the hallmarks of our community. They are as plain as the nose on our faces, we expect it and deliver it, we know of no other way to do it and yet there is a whole world outside of our fence that doesn't get it but appreciates it as truly special when they see it. We are living the dream but can't see it until we wake up ... it's a BFO that isn't obvious until we leave and look back, and embrace the moment!