By Brian Hagberg
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
For her third go-round at Schriever Air Force Base, Col. DeAnna M. Burt, 50th Space Wing commander, wants to give the arid climate around the base a more tropical feel. Hawaiian shirts, maybe a luau or two and Schriever’s version of the popular series “Hawaii 5-0,” will be common themes as the 50th Space Wing was rechristened Team 5-0 during Burt’s first commander’s call at the fitness center June 1.
“Team 5-0 unites us,” Burt said. “We have to be rallied as a wing in what we do day in and day out. We need an identity and we need something to rally around.”
The Team 5-0 rallying cry was just one of the things Burt touched on during her first commander’s call since taking command of the wing from Col. Bill Liquori May 29. In addition to her affinity for flowered shirts, Burt also shared some of her background.
A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Burt’s family moved to Jacksonville, Florida, when she was in sixth grade, which she said explains why her choice of college sports teams is a bit dysfunctional. She’s a Gator (University of Florida) fan during the fall and a Cardinal (University of Louisville) fan in the winter. In her free time, Burt also enjoys running, traveling and spending time with her family.
Burt went on to explain the Air Force core values form the bedrock of what the wing does. She stressed that she’s willing to work with members on issues, provided they remain honest with her.
“If you’re telling me the truth, I can help you with anything and we can work it out together,” she said. “If you lie to me, I’m off your team. The things you do day in and day out keep people from dying down range and help us win wars. If I can’t trust you to tell me the truth, how can I trust you with that valuable mission?”
In addition to striving for integrity, service and excellence, Burt said she’s also looking for leaders and innovators to emerge now that the U.S. has begun the drawdown in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“Our inter-war years are when the leaders and innovators really emerge,” Burt said. “We’re starting to drawdown and you have all been part of it and seen it. But what is the good part of that? There’s an opportunity to really change and innovate our Air Force and our wing. You’ve got your good ideas; get them out because I’m ready to hear them.”
In order to facilitate and encourage Airmen to come up with new ideas, Burt said she wants to emphasize transparency from base leadership. She said she wants base leaders, including herself, to follow-up with people who bring ideas that can help the wing do things better and smarter and explain why those ideas were or were not approved.
“I think your leadership team has been [pushing ideas], but we have not been communicating back to you the successes or failures and what happened,” Burt said. “I’m going to work hard to be more transparent with all of you so you know what’s going on.”
One way Burt thinks Schriever can improve is to strengthen the relationship between 50 SW and the 310th Space Wing to form a singular Schriever identity, or Team 360. She said one way could be to better utilize members of the 310 SW as the 50 SW becomes the first wing in AFSPC to transition to the Space Mission Force construct.
“I think one of the biggest failures we have as a regular Air Force is we try to force fit square pegs into round holes with the reserves,” she said. “They are a huge resource that we are failing to use properly. I think you have good relationships in certain units, but I think there’s a lot of room to grow.”
Finally, Burt stressed that she, as well as the 50th Mission Support Group, is continuing to find ways to improve the quality of life on base. She said things have come a long way since she was last stationed here in 2010, but there is still work to be done and asked that Team 5-0 continue to bring ideas and be patient while those ideas are implemented.
“Trust me when I say the team is working hard,” she said. “I have heard you. If you have ideas that would make [Schriever] better, [flow] them up to your leadership and we’ll make it happen.”