A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend a Basic Military Training graduation at Joint Base San Antonio - Lackland, Texas. It had been about 20 years since I stepped foot on the BMT parade grounds. I was truly amazed at the pride the military training instructors and their teams displayed during the ceremony as we accepted more than 900 new Airmen into our U.S. Air Force.
As Airmen we sometimes forget the pride we had when we first came into the military. Pride can be viewed from many different angles in our Air Force culture. Duty and appearance are a couple of things that come to mind when referring to Air Force pride.
Duty performance is a primary focus in today’s Air Force. Our Airmen perform a wide range of duties and functions that require a great deal of training and attention to detail, but how many of our members actually get some form of satisfaction from their own achievements? Having pride in our work is essential to fostering a more energized workplace. When Airmen feel such positive energy, they are more likely to want to come to work and do a great job. I can honestly say that our Airmen at Team Travis do amazing things across this base. We as Airmen need to recognize our own specialized qualities and skills that contribute to our mission. What we do on a day-to-day basis is not “just a job.” Take pride in what you bring to the fight, we all have something to brag about. Be bold and confident about showcasing your skills and don’t be afraid to own it.
Less than one percent of Americans have the privilege of wearing a military uniform. Do you remember the last time someone approached you and said, “Thank you for your service?” Wearing the uniform should give Airmen a sense of pride. Our civilian population recognizes the sacrifices we make in serving this great nation. Maintaining your uniform and how you represent yourself in uniform only covers a small piece of the pie. Taking pride in your physical environment is important as well. We all have a responsibility and duty to maintain our present surroundings whether it be our workcenters, units, dorm rooms or base facilities. Most people establish their first impressions within a matter of minutes. Taking pride in your environment speaks volumes and sends a direct message to others. Nothing beats unit pride in a squadron along with personal pride in your own area of responsibility. Let their first impression be your best impression.
I challenge you all to think about the pride you have in your daily activities in your unit and also the pride you have in being an American Airman. First impressions can sometimes be the last impression. Our goal is to leave a lasting positive impression for others to emulate. Remember, you are not just representing yourself, but the USAF. Aim high and embrace your Air Force pride!