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Breakfast with the boss

Posted 3/7/2011   Updated 3/7/2011 Email story   Print story


by Airman 1st Class Samuel Taylor
436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

3/7/2011 - DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del.  -- In any organization, it is crucial to have a consistent link between leaders and their workforce. Proper communication helps streamline work and keeps everyone on the same page, which in turn helps missions get accomplished. At Dover, wing leadership keeps in touch with its Airmen at an unconventional setting: the breakfast table.

Once a month, Col. Mark Camerer, 436th Airlift Wing commander, meets with about 15 Airmen from different squadrons for breakfast, the most recent occurring March 3, 2011, at the Patterson Dining Facility.

"The intent of the Monthly Airmen's Breakfast is for Col. Camerer to engage with, and hear views, feedback and concerns directly from, Airmen," said Chief Master Sgt. John Evalle, 436th Airlift Wing command chief. "These unfiltered engagements are a great way for the commander to take steady pulse checks on the culture and attitudes of Dover Airmen."

Throughout the breakfast, Airmen introduced themselves to Col. Camerer, telling him what their job is, where they live and their views about the base. Col. Camerer shared many stories and offered advice to the Airmen about time management, finances and the military lifestyle.

"Don't put off the important things now because you think you're too busy," said Col. Camerer. "Trust me - you only get busier."

Col. Camerer's down-to-earth approach to the event didn't go unnoticed by the Airmen in attendance.

"It was good to get to know the commander, he talked to us like anyone else would," said Airman 1st Class Samantha Rohde, 436th Dental Squadron medical technician.

Though socializing is a large part of the breakfast, it also serves a practical function with Airmen offering opinions about aspects of the base.

"Sometimes it takes a fresh look at a long-existing situation to offer the obvious solution," said Chief Evalle. "Something as simple as an Airman asking the wing commander why only one outbound lane at the gate is open at the end of the duty day has resulted in the elimination of a large, daily traffic backup and frustration for members on their way home."

Whether offering Airmen a chance to have their ideas heard, or simply giving them a chance to meet the commander in person, the breakfast is a valuable tool for bringing Team Dover together.

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