Reflections of my Air Force career

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Douglas Hobdy
  • 341st Space Wing
Now that I am nearing my retirement from the Air Force, I have taken time to reflect upon my experience. I cannot begin to put a price on the knowledge, experience and confidence I have gained since entering the Air Force in 1983. My reading and writing skills were below average, and it was not until I went through the NCO Leadership Course that I realized I had a problem and wanted to do something about it.

Having been in the maintenance career field and working around aircraft, I did not see the need to enhance my writing skills. I found out later that was a big mistake because communication skills are vital tools in our day-to-day existence.

Nevertheless, through hard work, dedication and help from supervisors who truly cared, I took the initiative to correct my deficiencies.

My time in the Air Force has also taught me a great deal about integrity and accepting responsibility. I have learned that while we all come from diverse backgrounds, there is one thing we all should have in common. That one thing, to me, is more valuable than any amount of money or experience one has. Simply, it is "Integrity." There was a time in our history where a person's "handshake" or "their word" was as good as gold.

I once told the story of when I was a young NCO, and was being demoted to senior airman. Rather than blame someone else for my behavior, I faced my supervisors, admitted wrong and took responsibility for what I did. That sole act meant more to me and my superiors then anything else I tried to do to correct or conceal my deficiencies. I found that admitting my faults, first to myself and asking for help, is one of the most courageous things I could have done. I truly believe admitting your faults, taking responsibility and asking for help, allows others to see the potential they have within themselves.

I honestly and whole-heartedly believe coming into the Air Force was the best decision I ever made in my life, and if I was asked to do it again, I would jump at the chance to do so.

I can never put a monetary value on the skills, experiences, self-motivation and pride this career has given me, but I can tell you that whatever you want out of life can be yours if you seek it. Whether you enlist for four or 30 years, take advantage of what you're being offered. Be the best that you can be, serve with honor and integrity, and even if for some reason, you do not accomplish everything you set out to accomplish, be proud of who you are and what you do.