In brightest day, in blackest night

  • Published
  • By Maj. Eric Gillespie
  • 341st Logistics Readiness Squadron commander
June 22, 2012, was a good day for me. I took command of the 341st Logistics Readiness Squadron. An opportunity that is not given to you easily but earned because during the course of your career, you have proven to have the qualities to take care of people and get the mission done. When I was told I was coming to Malmstrom to command there was a plethora of emotions that enveloped me...excitement, joy and of course fear. Fear that I would mess up and let down the people who believed in and chose me. But as I took that Guidon with both hands and accepted command that day, I made a choice to give 110 percent to the people who are looking for me to lead them in the years to come.

After the ceremony, I posted my accomplishment on Facebook and the cheers from the social media crowd - my friends and family - were overwhelming and supportive. But it took that one dissenting voice to rise above the crowd saying; "I cannot believe that the worst Air Force officer I have ever met is taking command of a LRS today. So glad I got out. What a joke this is becoming." My first reaction was utter shock that someone would post this, but I realized something that day; social media is an avenue for a person to exercise their first amendment right to express their opinion. I would not be serving my country today if I did not hold firm that person's 1st Amendment right to freedom of speech. I won't lie, but my second reaction was to try post something to in essence "burn" that person for what was said but I elected not to. What that person doesn't know is that I have grown a lot since the time we had served together and that I have no need to stoop to that level with an equal response. I can only say this; I respect the opinion and can only move on.

The reason I have chosen to share this is because not everyone is going to motivate you to succeed in life. There are going to be people out there that will try to beat you down, cause you to not believe in yourself and then the self doubt could spread like wildfire in your heart and mind that will lead you to think it's true. But let me give you some heartfelt words of advice: DO NOT LET IT!! Let the negativity towards you motivate you to succeed and prove them wrong. Look deep into yourself and find the willpower to accomplish your goals in life. You have the power to prove them wrong and then thank them for giving you the motivation to succeed. While your friends and family will always be motivators, it can be those cynics who give you the greatest gift to overcome anything. Don't give into fear....use it!