Your sole contribution to the sum of things is yourself

  • Published
  • By Col. "Tip" Stinnette
  • 39th Air Base Wing Commander
I was running around the base perimeter this past weekend. I was running on the white stripe that defined the road's shoulder.

As I looked out in front of me I noticed that I could see the white stripe stretch out before me for about 100 meters and then it blurred away.

Have you ever noticed when flying into Adana, on short final, about 600-feet above the ground, how the fields are cut to look like a chess board or when cruising along at six miles above the earth over Cairo the majestic Egyptian pyramids look like ant hills?

Each image is defined by the eye's perspective, six feet, 600-feet, or six-miles high. The view from six miles high is the view of the sum of things. It is not often that we get the window seat or a clear day to see the view from six-miles high or for that matter 600- feet high, so we often project our view from six-feet high.

It's tough to see how your contribution at six feet high effects the view from six miles high but it does.

Your sole contribution to the sum of things is yourself.

If the farmer at six-feet high cuts the field on the diagonal then the field takes on a different shape from 600-feet high. And if the Egyptians made stone walls instead of pyramids the view from six-miles high would not be so grand when flying over Cairo.

There are three things that contribute to the importance of Incirlik Air Base. They are geography, geography and geography. We are located at the seam along a critical fault line in the world geography.

It is how we navigate this seam from six feet, 600-feet, and six-miles high that determines our success.

From six-feet high, our contribution to the sum of things is in how we build relationships between each other ... Airman to Airman and family to family. It comes down to how we conduct ourselves in the Alley, with our 10th Tanker Command hosts, with our mission partners, and between ourselves.

From 600-feet high, our contribution to the sum of things is in how we communicate and coordinate with and between the higher levels of command ... U.S. Air Forces in Europe to Air Mobility Command, 2nd Turkish Air Force to 1st Turkish Air Force, Consulate to Province Government, and so forth. And from six-miles high, our contribution to the sum of things is how we enable the interests of organizations like Transportation Command, European Command, Central Command, Turkish General Staff and the U.S. Embassy.

Everything is connected and the boundaries between the perspectives of six-feet, 600-feet, and six-miles high are blurred. An incident in the Alley can quickly become an issue between nations. An incident on base can quickly become an issue between militaries.

Little things become big things and big things hinge on the little things we do. The business of strategic mobility is a big thing.

We enable the resources of Transportation Command to serve the interests of European Command, Central Command, and NATO.

These are big organizations that are dependent on small things and the contribution of each of us. The ballet of generating an aircraft cuts across our entire installation from the six-foot perspective.

That same aircraft is dependent upon the 600-foot perspective for communication and coordination, and ultimately the mission delivers "effects" from the six-mile high perspective.

Everything we do is interconnected.

The big picture can be difficult to digest ... like looking at the Grand Canyon for the first time, it can be overwhelming. But at the end of the day, it is our degree of understanding of how we fit into the big picture that leverages our contribution. Incirlik is a small base when compared to many others from the six-foot perspective.

But Incirlik Air Base is a hugely important and big base from the 600-feet and six-mile high perspectives. Your sole contribution to the sum of things is yourself and that contribution is absolutely critical in Ensuring Freedom's Future!