Commander lays out expectations for the mission

  • Published
  • By Col. Michael Panarisi
Wow!! What a fantastic first two weeks. As many of you know, Rebecca, along with Michael and Reanna, arrived about a week before I did, and her first words were "You won't believe this place!" She's absolutely right.

I couldn't be more impressed by the professionalism, the commitment and most of all, the passion Team Arnold has for our mission. It's clearly evident in every corner of the base.

I know many of you worked very hard to make our arrival as painless as possible and many more worked the endless details of a change of command ceremony and everything that followed.

Rest assured your efforts did not go unnoticed. It was truly a class act, and everyone involved can be proud of a great effort.

We were totally overwhelmed with the hospitality, the warm welcome and the extra effort everyone put forth to help us get off to a great start, including the Arnold Community Council. My thanks to everyone who had any part in that great undertaking.

As with any change in leadership, I suspect a few are wondering what they're in for over the next couple years. I know I have huge shoes to fill ... Col. Huber is a truly outstanding officer and he has obviously left the center in great shape.

Like most new commanders, I have every intention to build on his success. I think you'll find we are a lot alike.

But just as a matter of introduction, I'll share a little more about how I like to operate and what you can expect from me.

My first priority is your safety. It's not just a slogan, it's what really keeps me up at night. Granted, our nation is at war, but Arnold AFB is not.
There is nothing we are doing here that requires us to risk our lives, invite injury or otherwise put our futures in jeopardy.

That doesn't mean our work isn't important; it's simply a matter of acknowledging that in combat, there comes a time when we must make the ultimate sacrifice for the nation, the mission or our comrades in arms. That's not the environment here. We can't do our mission without you and if anyone sees a potential for a mishap, I need your help to identify the risk, prevent accidents and keep the team intact to test another day.
I can live with a delay in a test schedule. I cringe at the notion of preventable mishaps. You mean far more to me than a date on a calendar.

Not far behind is my biggest challenge ... creating and sustaining an environment that lets you thrive. I call it "unleash the talent."

If we're doing something that is stifling your creativity, making you feel unimportant or otherwise not a valued member of the team, we need to know, and you'll have my best efforts to find solutions.
This isn't about my success; it's about the successful completion of our mission and that is totally reliant on what you bring to the fight.

A great quote ... "It's not the size of the dog in the fight; it's the size of the fight in the dog." My job is to keep your fires burning.

If we can ignite and sustain the passion from within, there's really no limit to what you can accomplish.

"Take care of the people and they will take care of the mission." Job one in living out that philosophy is inspiring everyone to be their best.

It's just not enough to "get by" here. This isn't a mission about a paycheck. It's about putting the best possible capabilities into the hands of our warfighters. Our efforts will save their lives, enable their missions and, most of all, keep our nation free.

Finally, I'm a big believer in "balance." If you aren't having fun here, maybe something's out of balance. Maybe we can help.

There are so many opportunities to take advantage of here (Michael is already a huge fan of the beach). We have to find the time to enjoy the blessings here in Tennessee.

I encourage all of you to find something you truly enjoy and make the most of it.

Everyone tells me this is going to be the best assignment in my career. I intend to make that come true and I hope you will as well.

Again, my thanks to everyone who has made this first two weeks great and we're thrilled about what lies ahead.

I'm looking forward to everything Team Arnold has to offer and, if the first two weeks are any indication, I'm in for a GREAT ride.