by Airman 1st Class Autumn Velez
7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
7/10/2015 - DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- What
if, instead of muting and storing your cell phone during a commander's
call, you took it out of your pocket and began typing and texting in
At a commander's call hosted by Col. Michael Bob Starr, 7th Bomb Wing commander, that's exactly what happened.
Starr invited Airmen of all ranks to join him for an interactive
commander's call by using their mobile devices to view his presentation
in a web browser. In addition to putting the presentation in the palm of
the audience's hands, the web-based program allowed Starr to perform
live polls, display real-time results and allow the audience to submit
To begin his call, Starr acknowledged the numerous transitions the wing
will soon experience. "I am referring to this season, for us, as the
summer of five transitions," Starr said. "This transition will provide a
chance to relook at how we do business."
These transitions include: the B-1B Lancer's transition to the Block-16
upgrade, which is the largest hardware and software modification ever
performed on the aircraft, the standing up of an Air Force Installation
and Mission Support Center, the establishment of a B-1 classic reserve
association at Dyess, the 7th BW's transition from Air Combat Command to
Air Force Global Strike Command, and the introduction of the new
Enlisted Evaluation System.
"Anytime you go through a transition, it is a good time to reassess
where you are and what you are doing," Starr said. "This will help
create an innovative culture."
He then took the opportunity to highlight innovative things happening
across the installation, including the introduction of a smartphone
application created by a Dyess Airman that streamlines data collecting
and work order processing for damaged runway sections by geo-tagging the
specific damaged areas and the reorganization of the aircraft parts
store to more effectively accomplish the mission.
"This is what we do," he said. "We are driven by the need to find creative solutions to problems."
Continuing to encourage innovation, Starr promoted the Big Country
Innovation Challenge 1.0. The challenge is an entrepreneurial pitch
contest that gives Airmen six minutes to propose their innovative idea
for the chance to win $5,000 to put towards executing their solution.
The first challenge was held June 26, and there will be and more
challenges to come over the course of the year.
After his briefing, he took questions from the audience using the
questions submitted to him from the web-based program. In total, there
were nearly 300 questions submitted to Starr over the five commander's
calls throughout the day. These questions ranged from serious concerns
to simple questions.
One common concern was the 7th BW's upcoming transition from ACC to
AFGSC. Starr expressed that very little would change with this
transition to a new major command. Some questions were about upcoming
changes to the Enlisted Evaluation System and Weighted Airman Promotion
System. One audience member asked if Chief Master Sgt. Aaron Bennett,
who recently became the 7th Bomb Wing command chief, was required to
shave his head in order to take the job. Bennett took the floor to
assure a clean-shaven head was not a requirement, just a coincidence,
since he and Starr both sport the look.
To bring the commander's call to a close, Starr left the Airmen with some motivational words.
"Innovation is part of Airmen's DNA," he said. "This is who we are. It's
branded into our culture. It's branded into our tradition. It's part of
our core values. It's inherently part of excellence."