Put the “I” in Airman

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It is often spoken that each one of us is important to our mission. It may seem cliché when you hear it, but think about the impact of that statement.

I am one of many master sergeants on this base, and the same can be said for any rank. So how is it that so much value is placed on each of us? Why am I such an important piece of the mission that happens daily?

I am an American Airman is the first phrase of our creed that unifies us in our individual specialties. I am responsible to each Airman to show up ready to perform and execute my duties with integrity, selflessness and excellence. I also carry the same expectation for others. If one of us is not able to execute, then we must be able to adapt, flex and ensure that the mission is being met.

I am important to our team because I am effective. I am doing my part in being a responsible, accountable and credible Airman. If I am not, then my fellow Airmen must pick up where I left off detracting from what they need to do, which creates a potential for a weakness in the execution of our mission. Putting the “I” in Airman means that I must be disciplined.

I once heard a chief say this about discipline.

“There is self-discipline and imposed discipline and having more self-discipline means that the potential for imposed discipline is less likely. As an Airman, being self-disciplined ensures that we are ready to show up and execute our duties with integrity, selflessness and excellence.”

Putting the “I” in Airman holds us accountable to each other in the way we perform on or off duty. Having that discipline ensures that each and every day, we are ready. It is not a cliché when our individual importance is spoken of, because the team depends on us. Putting the “I” in Airman means that as individuals we are making smart responsible decisions that enable us to come back to work fully capable to execute.