Commentary

February 13, 2014

Are you a complete Airman?

Commentary by Senior Master Sgt. Michael Hansell
56th Component Maitenance Squadron

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. – There are many types of Airmen in today’s Air Force, but what type of Airman are you? Are you the type that comes in, does your job and goes home? Or, the one that does good work but isn’t interested in going above and beyond the minimum requirements? Or, are you a complete Airman?

What I mean by a complete Airman is one who is not only good at their job, but also well-rounded. Being a well-rounded Airman means to be developed and well-balanced in a variety of aspects. We all have our own thoughts on these areas, but I would include technical skills, education, community and physical health.

Do you look for additional opportunities to learn on the job as well as outside of work? Not only should we all be as technically sound and as knowledgeable as possible about our primary duties, but we need to take advantage of all the educational opportunities provided to each and every one of us. Are you completing your career development courses in a timely manner and scoring high, attaining your Community College of the Air Force degree as quickly as possible, and completing all professional military education courses at the right time in your career? Are you active in the community to include on and off-base activities? There are a number of organizations on base that can use your help, from your rank appropriate professional organizations to the dorm council, or the chapel and Airman’s Attic.

There are even more opportunities to get involved in off-base community activities. Whether you like to coach sports, volunteer at a local school, or assist at local homeless shelters, opportunities to get involved are abundant. Everyone has their own interests, so find something you enjoy and make a difference. How is your physical health to include your fitness assessment? If you are not taking care of yourself and keeping in top physical condition then you are robbing yourself.

I know many Airmen work long hours and do not get the time on-duty to work out, but it has to be a part of their daily lifestyle. These are all things in your span of control and are expected of you, yet I still see many Airmen put them off until it comes back to haunt them.

A wise old chief I know made a great statement that stays in my mind. It goes something like this, “You can be a great maintainer but only an average Airman, but you can be an average maintainer and still be a great Airman.” If you think about that for a minute it makes a lot of sense because your actual job or technical skill is just one piece of being an Airman. And to be a great Airman I believe you need to be a complete Airman.

With today’s budget cuts and reductions in force, you need to make sure you are a complete Airman or you may be on the outside looking in. The bar has been raised and just being an average Airman may not be enough to re-enlist in today’s Air Force. However, as long as you are doing everything possible to be a complete Airman you will not have to worry about the force management programs coming out.




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(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Betty R. Chevalier)

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