Is Your Air Force Journey All That it Could Be?

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Steven Gethers
  • 341st Medical Group first sergeant
From elementary school to high school, high school to college, youth to maturity, life to death, a journey takes place. A life in the Air Force is no different. Webster's defines Journey as an act or instance of traveling from one place to another.

As you embark on your Air Force journey, you are expected to learn what it takes to be a productive member of the profession of arms. From the moment we enter Air Force Basic Military Training or Officer Training School, the path for success is laid out before us.

Quality instruction, mentorship and leadership are summarily injected into every fiber of our being by a variety of non-commissioned and commissioned officers. Expectations are levied and we soon find ourselves enrolled in a variety of professional military, career development and off-duty education courses to enhance our knowledge and proficiency. As great as all of this education and training is, it is not the entire solution to a journey of success.

Every Airmen must realize the importance of and grab tightly to the character traits of self-discipline and initiative to take responsibility for their journey.

As with any journey, there are a number of obstacles to negotiate. Some obstacles are simply inherent to the path we travel. On the contrary, there are many times these obstacles are self-made results of shortfalls in our own willingness to accept responsibility for our actions, learn from mistakes and seek the counsel of others who've traveled the path before us.

No matter the challenge we face, a variety of tools is at the ready to help us efficiently gain wisdom, learn from our mistakes and negotiate the problem. Air Force Instructions, Technical Orders, mentors and leaders are at the ready, but we must seize the initiative to put these tools into action. Pick up the AFI and/or TO and read it. Seek out a brother or sister in arms who obviously has it together in the area you are struggling and ask them for help or clarification of a way ahead. Take note of your leadership and spark dialog as to how they've overcome obstacles in the path they've trodden.

Taking the initiative with these actions maximizes the lessons learned from our mistakes and minimizes unnecessary obstacles in our journey. Of equal note, these experiences will help sharpen our ability and resolve to live out our core values with conviction. Almost without realizing it, we'll one day find ourselves in a position to lend just the right assistance, at just the right time, to a fellow Airman as they strive to complete their own journey. The earlier we can grasp onto this fundamental truth, the more enjoyable our journey will be. The earlier we can grasp onto this fundamental truth, the more enjoyable the journey of those who follow will be.

In the end, how will your Air Force journey be remembered?

I am reminded of a saying, "No one will remember what you have done but they will always remember how you made them feel."

Let's make the right choice today that others may one day reflect on you with gratitude for making a difference in their ability to get the most from every opportunity in their journey.