Flexibility, Stupidity and Airpower

  • Published
  • By Col. Ken Stefanek
  • 39th Air Base Wing vice commander
"Flexibility is the key to airpower..." If you've spent any time in the Air Force you've undoubtedly heard that line before. As Airmen, we pride ourselves on being flexible, adapting to changes in the situation, and making due with what we have to get the mission done. Examples like flying B-25s from the deck of the aircraft carrier Hornet as was done during Doolittle's World War II raid on Japan or using B-52s, an aircraft originally designed for long range bombardment, to fly Close Air Support missions as was done during Operation Enduring Freedom, highlight our proud heritage.

Applied incorrectly however, flexibility is otherwise known as stupidity and can have disastrous results. Examples include using gasoline as a substitute for lighter fluid to start a barbeque or using a bouncy castle or taser gun as a party favor during a social gathering in the dorms.

This weekend marks the beginning of our 101 Critical Days of Summer safety program. The days between Memorial Day and Labor Day have historically seen a rise in the number of safety mishaps which result in lost productivity, equipment, and lives. We at Incirlik have not suffered a fatal accident in a few years and some would claim that statistics say that we are overdue. I disagree. History does not predict the future. While flexibility is one of the strongest attributes of airpower, stupidity is one of the surest signs of too much alcohol and usually leads to the three dimensions of dumb, different, and dangerous. At the end of the day it really isn't that hard, be flexible when applying airpower and be smart when out having fun in the sun ... that way we'll all be able to continue ensuring freedom's future come Labor Day, 101 days from now.