Display

Fall in!

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- What images come to mind when you hear the command "Fall in"? As a military member, you might recall the beginning of your career, with the T.I. in the "Smokey the Bear" hat and dark-colored sunglasses screaming as you raced off the bus. As a civilian, you might remember scenes from military movies like "We Were Soldiers" or "Stripes."

Whatever image comes to mind, the command "Fall in" leads to a structured military formation. As a proud Security Forces member, I use the command to prepare my unit for Guard Mount. Readiness personnel, medics, civil engineers and people in other Air Force career fields use the command to prepare for Roll Call.

As a supervisor, I use the time to ensure everyone is present for duty, go over the prior-day accomplishments and identify any projects that need to be completed. I could have simply sent an e-mail or instant message to everyone, but face-to-face contact allows me to emphasize important details of a project and ensure everyone is on the same page -- something an e-mail cannot do without several interpretations.

No matter what name you use to describe how you interact with your personnel, the purpose remains the same. Roll Call is an opportunity for leadership to make personal contact with Airmen, giving them a chance to discuss topics ranging from current squadron or Air Force level news to mission priorities of the day. It allows supervisors to make eye contact with their subordinates to verify that everyone is ready -- mentally and physically -- for duty. Signals like stress, illness, lack of sleep or confusion cannot always be conveyed in an email.

By taking 15 minutes for Roll Call, a supervisor has the opportunity to send someone home to stop a cold from spreading or to prevent an accident caused by lack of sleep or to identify someone who needs help coping with stress. Technology has allowed us to be more efficient in many ways, but we should not let it hinder the way we interact with our personnel. So take the 15 minutes you were going to use sending an e-mail and "Fall In!"