Q&A with the new 307th Bomb Wing commander

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Ted Daigle
  • 307th Bomb Wing

When Col. David Anderson took command of the 307th Bomb Wing here May 14th, it marked the latest chapter in a career that started in 1992, turning wrenches on F-16 Fighting Falcons in the Colorado Air National Guard. Since then, he’s had stints on active duty and the Air Force Reserve, chalking up more than 3,700 hours as a command pilot. Anderson has time in the seat in both fixed-wing and rotary aircraft and served on multiple combat deployments.

And he’s showing no signs of slowing down. Anderson took time out of his busy schedule to answer questions about his leadership style, vision for the 307th Bomb Wing, and passion for innovation.

PA: Sir, thank you for taking time out of your day to speak with me today.

Anderson: Hey, I appreciate you being here!

PA:  I’ll cut to the chase. How would you define your leadership style?

Anderson:  My style is collaborative and designed to promote transparency. It helps because it gives people an extra level of understanding about why things happen the way they do. Unfortunately, I don’t always have time to do it to the level I’d like. But I always try to help people gain a better understanding of the “why” behind what is happening.      

I believe in setting general guidelines and letting people run with them. If you don’t constrain how people find answers, they can find some really innovative ways to solve problems.

 I don’t like to micromanage. I don’t have time to micromanage. It’s not good for an organization, and it’s not good for morale.

PA: You started your career in the enlisted ranks? How did that shape your view of leadership?

Anderson:  I started out as an F-16 maintainer, and I saw the world through that lens back then. Now, I can see both sides of the coin. It helps me deeply appreciate the connectedness of the two sides. It helps immensely.

It also made me a believer in second chances. I was shown mercy for a mistake I made during my enlisted time, and that has remained with me.

PA: What are your expectations of the wing’s Airmen?

Anderson: The big thing is to do your job to the best of your ability. Everybody depends on someone else, whether you realize it or not. Thus, to make the system “work,” it’s important to do your best at whatever you do as this allows everyone else to focus on their part of the mission. It’s like a fine-tuned engine. Everything has to work together for it to run at peak efficiency.

It’s also important to be proud of your service – be proud of what you do.  We’re part of such a small fraction of people in the U.S. who have worn the uniform.  It’s easy to forget that our service is what sets us apart.

PA: How do you get an Airman that is a few layers away from launching B-52s to understand their relationship to the mission?

Anderson:  I’ve found support personnel really understand their job well, but they don’t always get insight into how it is connected to the mission.

For example, maintainers can tell me everything there is to know about compression ratios, but they don’t always have deep insight into how that knowledge helps accomplish the mission. It’s like a lawnmower mechanic who really understands how to make the machine run but is never told how it was used to actually cut grass.

So, my advice is to reach out.  Get a ride in a simulator. Ask for a tour of the aircraft. Supervisors should reach out and fight for that opportunity to let their troops get a tour of the B-52. It’s a push-pull relationship.

I guarantee our Operations folks are more than willing to help our support folks so they can see how what they do translates into mission accomplishment.  

PA: What’s your vision for the wing? Where would you like to see it three years from now?

Anderson: I see us having advanced the ball down the field on aircraft modernization. I also see us innovating even more than we currently are and adjusting to an evolving mission set. The B-52 is changing, and the Formal Training Unit is changing. The only way we will keep up with that is through innovation and leveraging the experience and talent unique to our Airmen.  


PA: You’ve been a big proponent of innovation. What advice do you have for the Airmen of the 307th in improving the wing through innovation?

Anderson: Think critically about our processes and ask the hard questions. Ask, “why?” Even more importantly, ask “why not?”

If there’s a waiver that needs to be accomplished to change something that doesn’t make sense, pursue it. If there’s a better way to do business, don’t accept the first couple of “no’s.” 

Be willing to step outside your comfort zone because change is hard. Of course, it’s much easier to just sit back and do nothing, but that doesn’t make us a more lethal fighting force.


PA: Is there anything else you want our Airmen to know?

Anderson: We’ve got a lot of challenges with funding and personnel shortages that are driven above the wing-level. It would be easy for one’s faith to waiver, but my commitment is to the men and women in the 307th. That’s what I can control. So, I want our Airmen to know that I’ll be taking care of them to the best of my ability.