Oftentimes at retirements we hear the phrase, “This is one chapter in my life.” No matter what our goal is, whether it is to serve for four years or 20 years, each of us will leave the Air Force at some point. This leads to the question, “What does it take to have an Air Force career?” Some might consider it to be as easy as 1, 2 and 3.
One, do your job extremely well. The Air Force invested time and resources to technically train you in a specific craft. However, you also invested in your future by completing the training. You are doing a job where the experience you gain far exceeds anything you might receive in the civilian work force. Not to mention all the free travel, amount of vacation time each year and medical care. If the Air Force is providing you all this, shouldn’t your work be a reflection of who you are and if so, then shouldn’t it be the best you can possibly offer at all times?
Two, stay fit. Each of us should continuously strive to be physically, socially, spiritually and mentally fit. Four equally balanced levels of fitness equal an equally balanced Airman. It is often said “attitude is contagious” and if that is true, then when we take the time to increase our fitness at all levels we tend to have a positive attitude and that’s the type of attitude we want to be contagious.
Three, don’t be unwise. It only takes seconds to make an ill-advised decision but in many cases it will take weeks, months or years to correct. It’s not about being cool or perhaps brave but more about being smart. Is it better to get laughed at by your peers for one night or spend time in jail?
Don’t think it’s true? Ask a first sergeant how often it happens. Bottom line, with all the recent force shaping programs the Air Force recently implemented, it is even more important the decisions we make align with what the Air Force demands from each of us. Simply put, if it doesn’t align with our core values then it’s probably not a smart decision.
At its simplest form, if each of us takes time to do our job extremely well, keep fit, and stay clear of stupid decisions then our goal to have an Air Force career, no matter how long, is attainable.
Whether it is a short or long chapter in our life, you can most certainly count on it to be a defining one. There is no other profession that levies so much responsibility on young men and woman early in their careers. By doing so, our country asks for the best we can give at all times in our career. To do that is as easy as 1, 2 and 3.