Commentary

June 21, 2013

Filling squares

Senior Master Sgt. Vincent Miller
2nd Maintenance Squadron

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. — As Airmen, we are more than familiar with the need to fill the proverbial squares as we strive to progress in our military career.

To be competitive for awards and promotions, we must commit ourselves to goals such as education, passing the fitness exam, and community service. It is through completion of these expectations and requirements that we become better leaders, managers and Airmen. However, somewhere along the way, we fail to internalize the importance of why we fill these squares.

In reality, the squares are designed to make us better and provide a separation between the willing and unwilling – the committed and uncommitted. The squares help identify Airmen who are motivated and willing to go the extra mile to better themselves, their team, and the Air Force. It is this drive towards self-improvement that separates one from the masses and establishes his or her true identity.

One square that requires a great deal of commitment is the pursuit of education. As we continually strive to become that “whole person,” we must challenge ourselves intellectually and work toward attaining a certification; associate, bachelor’s, or even a master’s degree. Attending school is not easy and takes sacrifice. It means spending your time writing a research paper, while everyone else is enjoying the weekend. It means taking your textbook on the flightline and studying every chance you get. It means being the security forces Airman I saw reading a biology book while eating breakfast in the dining facility.

At this moment some of you are saying there is no time to attend school; high operations tempo, 40-hour work week, and spending time with family are a few reasons that prevent you from taking classes. Additionally, some of you may feel we should be evaluated solely on work performance.

Honestly, these excuses are hindering you from progressing and improving yourself. If you continue to hide behind them, like I once did, you will never take yourself to the next level.

It took a long time to realize that fear and toxic excuses prevented me from seeking an education. Constant mentorship and a few one-way “conversations” from a chief master sergeant propelled me down the road of education.

Dedicating yourself to filling the squares is a decision only you can make. By filling them you demonstrate the willingness of constant self-improvement and unwavering commitment, which directly benefits you, your team, and the Air Force. Filling the squares also establishes separation from your peers and it is through this separation that you are most likely to fulfill your career aspirations and goals.

The choice is yours and yours alone. Be willing to accept the consequences. Don’t say, “He/she only got Senior Airman below-the-zone because he went to school.” Rather, you must say, “I lost because I chose not to go to school. I chose not to fill the squares.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
U.S. Air Force photograph by Senior Airman Thomas Spangler

LVC integration takes Red Flag to next level

U.S. Air Force photograph by Senior Airman Thomas Spangler Airmen participate in the live, virtual, constructive portion of Red Flag 15-2 at the Combined Operations Center-Nellis on Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., March 5. Red Fla...
 
 

99th MDG wins Air Force level awards

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Two clinics and an Airman with the 99th Medical Group were the recipients of three 2014 Air Force Medical Service annual awards. The 99th Dental Squadron was named the Large Dental Clinic of the Year, the 99th MDG’s Patient Safety Program was named the Best Inpatient Facility Patient Safety...
 
 

Financial readiness equals mission readiness

FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. — As a long-time military spouse, I have held various jobs — and I know many of you can relate. I served as a military and family life counselor at an Airman and Family Readiness Center and had the privilege of working with fellow military families to create budgets, develop...
 

 

Red light special

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — So there I was in my early ‘90s sedan. I was sitting at the red light directly outside of the base driving towards West Craig to start my commute home after a long day of work. The very moment the light turned green, I noticed oncoming traffic didn’t stop....
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mikaley Towle

Nellis Airman earns AFMS annual award

U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mikaley Towle Staff Sgt. Danielle Thinnes poses next to a plethysmograph, also known as a body box, which performs various breathing tests for patients at the Mike O’Callaghan Federal ...
 
 

40 Nellis, Creech Airmen selected for promotion

The following master sergeants at Nellis and Creech Air Force Bases, Nevada, have been selected for promotion to senior master sergeant: James W. Andrews Raymond T. Artis Jr. Shane R. Baker Jamie E. Beam Guenther Bogensperger Shawn M. Bowman Michael P. Butler Noe Chavez Felix Cruz III Michael S. Culver Travis A. Eberly Kenneth J....
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin