Wellington, Waterloo, and Eton

  • Published
  • By Col. Ken Stefanek
  • 39th Air Base Wing vice commander
Legend has it that several years after his victory over Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo, the Duke of Wellington commented that Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton, a famous school in England that Wellington attended.

Whether or not the Duke actually made the comment is subject to debate, but the message behind the comment is clear. Specifically, success in any battle hinges in large part on events that happened before the battle. In Wellington's case, the comment suggested that the discipline, tenacity, and courage that carried the British army to victory at Waterloo were learned years before while the soldiers were students at Eton.

We recently won a major battle against non-compliance and should be proud of our achievement. I believe that our success was due to our thorough preparation in the weeks and months leading up to the Unit Compliance Inspection rather than how we performed while the inspectors were here.

As the boss has mentioned, we are in a war against non-compliance and in the coming months we will be tested again when we host inspectors for our Healthy Services Inspection, Surety Staff Assistance Visit and Surety Inspection. Our success in those battles will be determined in large part by how we prepare between now and then. While we throttle back to catch our breath after our sprint to the UCI finish line, our challenge is to remember that even while throttled back, we must remain 100-percent compliant with governing directives. Do this and we will continue to be successful in future battles and will continue to ensure freedom's future.