Meet your commander: 23rd Fighter Group

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Rachel Coates
  • 23rd Wing Public Affairs

How well do you know your leaders? Many Airmen may know their commander’s name, but do they know who their commanders truly are?

Airmen must keep track of a variety of requirements and studying their leader sometimes isn’t on the top of the to-do list. So, the Flying Tiger’s Public Affairs team sat down with each group commander to learn about their history, beliefs and life beyond their career in the U.S. Air Force.

The 23rd Fighter Group commander, Col. Nicholas DiCapua, shared his experiences and inspirations – giving us an inside look into what motivates him every day.

Q1: How has your past military experience shaped how you lead here as the 23rd FG commander?

A1: I wouldn’t say I have a philosophy, but a general attitude towards leading, especially in an organization with a specific task such as the 23rd FG. I feel that it’s the role of a commander or leader to work FOR the Airmen. I don’t look at the members of the FG as working for me. They work for the mission and the organization, providing combat ready forces to the combatant commands, ready to fight. I am here to facilitate, guide, mentor and support them while they do the hard work.

Q2: Do you think that your time here at Moody helped impact the way you lead?

A2: Absolutely! Each of my commanders in my previous two assignments in the 23rd FG had a huge impact on me. My first fighter squadron commander from Moody taught us all what it means to be a professional warrior and master of our craft. My next commander taught me selfless leadership and how your greatest asset is the people to your left and right that we fight alongside. Through my most recent fighter squadron commander at Moody, I learned the value and importance of cultivating brother/sisterhood in arms. These people have had a big impact on me and the other Airmen around them. Moody has a history of growing great Airmen, warriors and leaders.

Q3: What would you like to see accomplished for your group’s mission while you’re here?

A3: Our mission here is unchanged. We make professional warriors eager and ready to fight across all domains of conflict. We don’t just fight with aircraft bombs and bullets from the air. We fight from behind a computer, pulling and analyzing crucial intelligence to support decision makers; we fight from the control tower, from the airfield and from behind a radar scope ensuring that our aircraft and the weapons they carry can get safely to and from the fight; we fight from inside a parachute or life support shop ensuring aircrew have access to reliable tools to ensure their survival and ability to fight; we fight with information – the type the Public Affairs team produce to deliver our wing’s, and Air Combat Command’s message to the world, so that our adversaries know that we are always preparing and always ready to take the fight to them. Everyone here has a role to deter, influence, or dominate our adversaries, period.

Q4: What advice would you give Airmen that are currently stationed at Moody for their future career/s?

A4: Simple, for whatever reason you are here, be proud that you are here. You chose to join this team and that is a big deal! We don’t care where you came from, who you worship, your race, your gender or orientation… all we want is folks that want to fight. Our job is to make you a professional warrior. While you are here, we expect you to live up to the professional standards of our beloved organization: integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all you do. When your time with us is done, you can move on to the next adventure with a bag full of experience, skill and capability and the knowledge that you served with honor.

Q5: How important is family to you, and what will you do to inspire your team to value work/life balance?

A5: I couldn’t do half the things I do without my family. They are absolutely critical to my resiliency and I make my time with them a priority. They also need me, and I need to be there for all of their life experiences as well. My family also knows how important the Air Force and the 23rd FG are to me. They are included in nearly every aspect of my work life. You will see them at most official and non-official events. They come by my work on a regular basis. We step out for lunch during the work week. I go to my daughter’s school for lunch every few weeks. My wife and I will both take a day of leave and have a date day with each other while my daughter is in school. You must be deliberate with the balance. It’s hard, and not always possible, and there are times when it must be abandoned for the mission, but that should be the exception, not the rule. If you are not squared away at home, the unit can sometimes feel that. When you’re at work, I want you to be ready, so put in time and effort into all aspects of your life.

Q6: What do you do outside of work? What are your hobbies?

A6: I loooove mountain biking, but I am so in the wrong place for that to be my main hobby. I’m working on planning a trip to the mountains here in the next few months to get some biking in before the snow ruins it for me. I also love my time in the gym. I try to make it a daily habit. If I plan on going seven days a week, I am able to make it typically five times. I’m a firm believer that exercise in whatever form is the best way to combat any mental health challenges and it is also the perfect time for me to think. I feel good and my wife doesn’t think I look so bad!