Teamwork: the common thread wherever life takes us

  • Published
  • By Col. Gregory Gilmour
  • 315th Airlift Wing commander

When we take the oath to join the military, our future is wide open and we are eager to start the journey; most of us quickly learn that teamwork is one of the most important elements of success. It’s the same whether we sign on for active or Reserve duty, as enlisted, officer or Defense Department civilian. Teamwork has always been the key contributor to success.

When I graduated from the Navy Reserve Officers Training Corps program at The Citadel here in Charleston almost 30 years ago, I never imagined that my journey would bring me full circle back to the Lowcountry where it all began.

I’ve had the honor of being a member, as well as leader, of some of the greatest teams out there –  at The Citadel and in the Navy and Air Force Reserve. Whether I was flying Navy helicopters, Air Force KC-135 Stratotankers, and now C-17 Globemaster IIIs, none of it would have been possible without a strong and dedicated team.

While we are in uniform, this team is made up of our fellow aircrew members, aircraft maintainers, security forces, our medical folks, our personnel specialists, pay specialists, and every person who works on the base contributing to the big picture of supporting our military mission.

When off duty and not in uniform, most of us are still part of a team. Sometimes it’s a spouse (for me, my wife Kathy), another family member or a group of friends. This team is just as important because it helps us to maintain an important balance in our lives that is vital to our wellbeing.

Reservists have another team we belong to – our civilian employers.  Most Reservists spend a majority of their time at a job in the civilian sector, as doctors, nurses, lawyers, police officers, firefighters, etc.  If things are not in harmony in our civilian jobs, there can be negative impacts on the other two teams we are a part of.

Our teams are symbiotic; if there is imbalance in one, there’s a good chance it will affect the other teams. If you take the time to nurture all the teams you are a member of, success in all result.

A successful team is not simply made up of leaders and followers, but of people who work together tirelessly in everything they do.

Like every team that I have had the pleasure of being part of, Team Charleston has the right ingredients for success. 

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