Commentary

February 28, 2014

I got it

Master Sgt. Rick Longnecker
22nd Air Refueling Wing Director of Staff first sergeant

McCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kansas — We hear a lot of buzzwords in the Air Force today. Some of the most recent and heavily used are wingman and resiliency.
To me the real question is what a wingman is, and how to build a more resilient force.

I consider the Air Force my family, and each and every member of the Air Force is my family member (even crazy Uncle Bob). You don’t become a good wingman or a resilient Airman by attending briefings or discussing it at commander’s calls.

It is a mindset, and a way of life. This was brought home for me a few months ago at a briefing I attended.

While attending the Air Force First Sergeant Academy last fall, one of our guest speakers, a command chief master sergeant, told a story of his experience with the family members of his Airmen.

His name I can’t remember, but his message I won’t forget. He told a story about meeting the parents of one of his Airmen at an event and described how the father seemed very displeased throughout their conversation.

Later, the chief asked the gentleman for a word in private. The father, not unexpectedly, was concerned for his son’s well-being. He wondered who would take care of his son while he trained across the country, away from his family, or while he completed his upcoming deployment. Who would take care of his daughter-in-law and new grandson while his son was gone?

The chief’s response to the worried father was simple.

“Sir, I got it.”

This story, while simple, was profound. At that moment, I was reminded that I, too, am responsible for the health, morale, welfare and well-being of the sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, husbands and wives of people I most likely will never meet.

What exactly would their expectations be? I know “I got it,” but what exactly do I got?

Mothers, Fathers, Husbands, Wives, Sisters, and Brothers:
You gave us your loved ones to serve in our beloved Air Force, and for that, I thank you. They now proudly carry two family names on their uniform, your name over their right pocket and our name over their left. You have loved and supported them, taken care of their needs and prepared them to serve with the best of the best.

Now it is my turn … and I got it.

What I want you to know and understand is that they will be trained and equipped to be a part of the best Air Force in the world. We will do our best to prepare them for whatever may come their way. If they are not prepared for what life throws at them, we will work through it together.

If their own families have needs, I got it. These are not just your sons, daughters-in-law, or grandbabies; they are a part of our family, too.

They will spend a part of their life in our Air Force. If they need a hand up, a shoulder to cry on, a hug, a smile, a kind word, a firm word, or a boot in the butt during this time, I got it.

If they are not cut out for life in our Air Force, they will be treated with dignity and respect. I got it.

If we have to deploy them around the world to awful places to fight our nation’s wars, I got it.

While they are away and unable to tend to their family’s day-to-day needs, I got it.

When they return and need help reintegrating into life at home, I got it.

If they return different than they were when they left us, I got it.

If the world around them starts to drag them down, I got it.

If the unthinkable happens, and they don’t return, I got YOU. We got you! You are now, and always will be, a part of our family, the Air Force Family.

My first question for each and every Airman in our force today is simple: do you “got it?”

I don’t mean just when it is going to show up on a slide, or be briefed to the boss, but day in and day out good times and bad. I’m not talking about just your friends, or your favorite Airmen. Do you got it for the Airman who may be struggling, or the Airman who may have strayed from the path and is causing you all that extra work? Do you “got it” for crazy Uncle Bob?

My second question is who’s got you? If you can’t answer that question, you need to reach out to someone. We all need a Wingman. We all need someone to watch our backs, to keep us going, to keep us out of trouble or just to be there. wingman, leader, warrior: They are more than just buzzwords.




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


 
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas Spangler

Sun sets on Red Flag 14-3

U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas Spangler The sun sets behind a row of F-16 FightingFalcons during Red Flag 14-3, July 16 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Red Flag provides a series of intense air-to-air combat sce...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Kali L. Gradishar

Lessons learned: Deployment exercise gives new insight

U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Kali L. Gradishar Master Sgt. Nicholas Alessi, New Horizons engineer 820th RED HORSE Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., lays block at the Edward P. Yorke school construction site April 9...
 
 
CMSAF1

CMSAF Cody visits Nellis Airmen

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force, James A. Cody speaks to 99th Civil Engineer Squadron Airmen about surveying equipment July 17, during a visit to Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Cody visited various units to experience first-han...
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kiuta B. Ika

Dempsey takes reins of NTTR

U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kiuta B. Ika Maj. Gen. Jay Silveria, U.S. Air Force Warfare Center commander, passes the Nevada Test and Training Range guidon to the new NTTR commander, Col. Thomas E. Dempsey III, during a c...
 
 
1000-hours

Pilot reaches milestone, achieves 1000 flight hours

Maj. Matt Allen, a 706th Reserve Squadron full-time air reserve technician who is assigned to the 59th Test and Evaluation Squadron as an F-22 test director, stands by an F-22 Raptor before flight July 21, at Nellis Air Force B...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rachel Loftis

Fuels management flight takes on Red Flag 14-3 full force

U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rachel Loftis Senior Airman Daniel Millard, 419th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels journeyman, prepares to fuel an aircraft participating in Red Flag 14-3, July 22, at Nellis Air Force...
 




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