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News > An interview with new 602nd TRG (P) commander
602nd Training Group (Provisional) gets new commander
Col. Melanie Milburn, 602nd Training Group (Provisional) commander, receives an update on Joint Expeditionary Tasked Training status from Chief Master Sgt. Tim Servati, 602nd TRG (P) enlisted manager chief, Aug. 21, 2012, at Hewes Hall, Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. Milburn took command during a ceremony Aug. 2. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)
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An interview with new 602nd TRG (P) commander

Posted 8/23/2012   Updated 8/23/2012 Email story   Print story


by Senior Airman Heather Heiney
81st Training Wing Public Affairs

8/23/2012 - KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- Col. Melanie Milburn, the new 602nd Training Group (Provisional) commander, describes her leadership philosophy, past experience and hopes for her time as commander.

How would you describe yourself as a leader?

I would have to say, people first, mission always. It may be a statement some feel is overused, but I firmly believe in it. It is known that a leader with no people who are willing to follow him or her is not a leader.

To lead with positive results I feel I must maintain effective interpersonal relationships with those who work for me and my bosses. One of my strongest assets is the ability to quickly observe how different people are motivated. I try to approach people in a manner that makes sense to them. Additionally, by knowing people as individuals, I can better direct the organization as a whole. Take care of the people and they will take care of the mission.

What are you most looking forward to during your command?

(I look forward to) getting to know the Airmen in the group and the ones going through the Joint Expeditionary Training. I want them all to know they make a difference in our Air Force. The training we provide to these Airmen through the Army is tough and can be demanding, but it will prepare them for what could be the worst hour of their life. We hope they never need the training and come back from their deployments saying they never had to use it.

What changes do you foresee in the group?

As we draw down as a military force in Afghanistan and overseas, I see changes for the Air Force and our fellow service members that directly impact the mission of the 602nd Training Group. I see a change in the type of training that our Airmen will have to attend. We could be shifting more and more toward an advisory role rather than serving in a warfighter capacity. But if we continue on the current path, the 602nd Training Group will make changes needed to provide the best joint training possible.

Why is the 602nd so vital to the global mission?

Our Airmen, worldwide, are requested by combat commanders and trained by the Army in advanced combat skills. The culture of joint expeditionary training is to learn to fight the enemy, shoot, move, communicate and treat injured on the battlefield. The training provided by the 602nd Training Group prepares both the body and mind for deployment.

What do you hope to accomplish during your time as the 602nd Training Group commander?

That every Airman returns home never having had to use the skills learned during their training.

How have your past experiences prepared you for this position?

I feel my past experience as a commander, deployed and home station, along with sitting in key leadership positions at different Air Force units and in the joint environment will be of significant asset as I step into this position. I feel my ability to make good sound decisions, inspire, coach and develop our Airmen will be critical to our success and in moving the 602nd Training Group forward.

What would you consider your greatest accomplishments so far?

I love to solve problems by envisioning what needs to happen differently in the future. The smartest people often have their heads in the clouds, and they don't always get it. They don't know how to adapt to people by keeping their feet on the ground and using their emotional intellegence along with their intellect. If we lead people by staying focused on the balls in the air (juggling mission and people), and have the attention to detail needed, we will accomplish success.

What do you like to do when not on official duty?

Spend time with my two daughters, golf, read and ride my motorcycle.

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