“You never get a second chance at a first impression.” – Unknown
While this saying holds true in many facets of our daily lives, it carries an increased weight and sense of responsibility for us as service members. Not only does this apply to our physical appearance, but also in the way we carry ourselves — as Airmen who serve this great country.
Luke Air Force Base recently held its first open house and air show since sequestration took effect. Approximately 360,000 attendees from the Phoenix metropolitan area visited Luke to see firsthand the awesome capabilities of our Air Force — capabilities that many people have only seen in movies.
As one of the many Thunderbolts who volunteered during the air show, I couldn’t help but notice how many people watched in awe and amazement as numerous aircraft took the grand stage in the sky, completing death-defying aerobatics and pulling off various combat maneuvers.
When members of the general public see an Airman in either their Airman Battle Uniform or flight suit, most don’t realize the diversity of our Air Force. When it comes to the many jobs we accomplish, all they see is the U.S. Air Force and the last name on our uniforms.
As I was making my rounds on the airfield, my crew and I were approached by several families, including children, who simply wanted to show their appreciation for our service, thank us and take photos with us. This was a very humbling experience. I truly love being part of the Air Force and serving my country, and although this is something I volunteered to do, I didn’t expect to be thanked for serving. For this, I was surprised and humbled.
In the Air Force, we are taught to live by the core values — integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do. According to AFI 1-1, Air Force Standards, projecting a good military image reflects not only on you personally, but also the Air Force. Whether on or off-duty, projecting a professional image is paramount, not only to make a good first impression of ourselves, but to show the American people we are a military force they can be proud of. After having the opportunity to be a part of Luke’s first airshow in three years, I could not be more proud to be serving in today’s Air Force.