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FIRST LOOK WHAT I KNOW by COLONEL PAUL H. GUEMMER


92d Air Refueling Wing, Fairchild Air Force Base photo by Keith Currie photography


The best advice anyone has given me is don’t think too much about the future, focus on the job you have today. A few years ago, I asked one of my squadron commanders about what jobs I needed to do in the future to make me successful in the Air Force. His reply was that it is important to have plans, but your future success is more defined by what you do today, not what you want to happen in the future. If you work hard and are the best at what you do today, no matter how trivial, your efforts will be recognized and opportunities will present themselves.


The greatest gift I have ever received is a supportive family. A military career requires a lot of moving around and you end up needing to build new relationships every two or three years. Every time you move, the only thing that stays constant is your family. Having a supportive family helps ease some of the turmoil of changing locations a lot.


The hardest lesson I have learned is that good people, working very hard and trying to do the right thing can still fail. It takes great leadership to recognize the signs of failure early and to intervene with mentorship and direction to keep people on track. If you don’t take action early, you may end up losing some of the most talented people on your team.


I am most proud of the people I work with. I am honored and privileged to be surrounded by the Airmen of Fairchild Air Force Base. The quality of our all-volunteer force has never been better and the Air Force tends to attract the best our nation has to offer. They stand up to any challenge and no task is too big. I have seen this first hand at Fairchild Air Force Base as we supported one of the highest operations tempos in our history while we shut down our runway and established flight and maintenance operations at two different locations in the state of Washington. I am constantly amazed by how good our Airmen are.


My dream job is the job I have today, as the commander of the 92 Air Refueling Wing. I have great people I work with. I have a great partner, Colonel Rich Kelly and the Airmen of the Washington Air National Guard. Spokane is a great area to live with a great climate and a lot of activity in the surrounding community. And Spokane and the surrounding area have the most supportive and friendly people I have met in my military career.


The event that most shaped my life was 9/11. I was in the Pentagon that day and the shock and horror of those events will always be with me. Every professional decision I make is shaped by those events. As an Air Force and a nation at war, those of us in uniform can never lose sight of why we serve. I have one quote on the wall of my office that I refer to every day. It is from Todd Beamer: “Are you guys ready? Let’s roll.”


36 SPOKANE CDA • July - August • 2011


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