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.


 
 

 

Online vigilance helps reduce risk

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. — I received at least five emails last week warning me to secure my social media settings and be aware of what I post on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Why? Do you not like to see what I had for dinner last night? Too many #selfies? Are photos of my dog eating...
 
 

Nurturing relationships and a culture of caring

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. — When life gets challenging, stressors can build and conflicts can escalate, sometimes leading to abuse. Preventing domestic abuse is fundamental to basic relationship maintenance. Partners in healthy relationships work together every day to nurture their relationship, taking care to address issues and concerns when they occur. Healthy relationships should...
 
 

Taming ‘tyranny of urgent’

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. — Many Airmen lead incredibly busy lives, full of unfinished tasks that we often wish we had more hours in the day to fit it all in, and in our professional lives, budgets remain tight, the Air Force is shrinking, and we are challenged to do more with less. Yet...
 

 

99th CONS delivers millions in FY 14

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — The 99th Contracting Squadron closed out a banner year on Sept. 30 for the Nellis and Creech Air Force Bases, and the Nevada Test and Training Range executing $175 million in the base central acquisition and contract performance management program in fiscal year 2014.   Working with a broad variety of...
 
 

Pregnant with cancer: A story of survival, resilience

BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. — On April 16, 2007, I got a call no expecting mother would dream of receiving. “We got the results from your biopsy and it came back malignant.” Did the doctor just say I had cancer? I first discovered the lump during Christmas break. It was so small that it was barely...
 
 

Physician Assistants Week 2014: Celebrating 47 years of compassion, excellence

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — You’ve seen us in your family’s doctor’s office, in your local emergency room, and perhaps even in the operating room. When that smiling medical provider introduces themselves as a physician assistant, or PA, who and what exactly are you meeting?  The PA is a nationally certified, state-licensed medical professional that traces...
 




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