Mentoring Makes a Difference

  • Published
  • By Capt. Patrick L. Booker
  • 341st Missile Wing Plans and Programs
The Air Force defines a mentor as a trusted counselor or guide, someone of greater experience that helps to develop another individual into an accomplished and competent professional. Mentoring can significantly influence job satisfaction, progression and decisions to stay with or leave the Air Force organization. 

The military is comprised of personnel with an array of wisdom; when these individuals share their insight with less experienced members, it benefits them personally and professionally. An effective mentoring program can help all our personnel--officer, enlisted and civilian--achieve their maximum potential, strengthening our military organization. The Air Force Mentoring Program was established to develop our men and women, and is a tool we can use to pass on and maintain the valuable lessons learned by our experienced personnel. 

Approximately 68 percent of Malmstrom active-duty personnel are first-term Airmen, for whom mentoring can make a positive impact on accomplishing the mission. Mentoring can help alleviate the stress associated with adjusting to the Air Force, the surrounding community and the expectation of perfection on the job in support of our nation's nuclear mission. 

I can personally attest that mentoring made a difference in my career. I was fortunate to have several mentors as a young Airman. However, one of my mentors stood out from the rest. Senior Master Sgt. Paul Landry, a person of outstanding character, dedication, determination and professionalism counseled, coached, disciplined and cared for me as a person and an Airmen. 

If I can become half the person, leader and mentor Sergeant Landry was, I feel l have done a great service to myself, those I have mentored and the United States Air Force. The motivation, discipline and drive he instilled in me have been influential to my career. Mentoring helped me to accomplish my goals of earning an Associate's Degree, earning an AFROTC Scholarship, becoming commissioned and getting selected to The Air Force Institute of Technology to complete my Master's Degree. 

I strongly believe that had it not been for mentors grooming, pushing and supporting me personally and professionally, I could not have accomplished my goals. 

My personal story on mentorship is one among many; there are a number of military personnel who have benefited greatly from the guidance and development they have received from both formal and informal mentors. Mentorship is not limited to locale, position or rank. Many of us can guide, develop and advise others on issues from personal growth to career development. Begin mentoring someone today; it makes a difference. Mentoring is the gift that keeps on giving.