By Jennifer Thibault | 50th Space Wing Public Affairs
SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Col. James Smith, 50th Space Wing commander, hosted a commander’s call Aug. 6 to discuss connections and upcoming options for Airmen to help make more of them.
“We’ve seen in surveys, squadron visits, discussions with Airmen and in our outreach that Airmen at Schriever are struggling to feel connected. We’re working to get after that,” Smith said. “We’re working to understand what barriers are preventing our Airmen from making connections. If you have ideas to better help us understand what those barriers might be and how we can remove them, please let me know.”
The commander recounted some of his previous teams, including a front office team at the Pentagon, a small team deployed to Iraq and a company grade officer team right here in the 2nd Space Operations Squadron, and how those high performing teams helped him through life’s stressors.
“While in each case the teams excelled at their missions, it’s not the mission I remember these teams for but rather how I felt being part of them. The teams cared for me and I cared for them. I can still tell you the names of each member and more importantly, what motivated and inspired them,” he said. “That’s the power of connections.”
In addition to already established events such as Warrior’s Edge training Aug. 15 and the Connection Culture training Sept. 10, leadership is also working the plan for the Team Schriever Resilient Tactical Pause.
“We’ve already accomplished some of the requirements during recent stand down days so we’re looking to focus on some other options,” he said. “It will likely include more squadron time because we want to make time for meaningful connections within our teams.”
To get after connections in a physical way, past and present leadership combined efforts to establish Bennie’s Breakroom, as a place to mentor, a place to learn, a place to make and build relationships, and a place to foster existing connections.
The new gathering spot, located across the street from the 50th Security Forces Squadron building, carries the base’s namesake, Gen. Bernard “Bennie” Schriever, who is considered the father of space and missiles.
“This is a place for us to be proud of who we are, of our heritage, of space domain excellence and our shared future — if done right it — will secure American leadership in space for generations,” Smith said.
Lt. Col. Michael Schriever, grandson of the base’s namesake and 2nd SOPS director of operations, joined other family members at the grand opening as well as arranged for some family items to be included among the facility’s memorabilia.
“We are humbled and honored to be part of opening Bennie’s,” said Schriever. “We are proud to see Bennie’s as a gathering place to connect with other Airmen while surrounded by a rich legacy and artifacts that remind us of our space heritage.”
Schriever and his son, Staff Sgt. Brett Schriever, are carrying on their family’s legacy of service.
“To serve and be on the forefront of change is a dream come true,” he continued. “As we press forward toward a new horizon of space operations in the United States, the space warfighters we develop today will execute my grandfather’s vision, ‘In the long haul our safety as a nation may depend upon our achieving space superiority. Several decades from now the important battles may not be sea battles or air battles, but space battles, and we should be spending a certain fraction of our natural resources to insure that we do not lag in obtaining space supremacy.’”
For more information on Bennie’s Breakroom, please contact Capt. Gabriel Pentkowski at 719-567-5001.