TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – I’ve had the pleasure of
working with great Airmen during my career, and nothing makes me more proud
than to work beside them.
I’ve moved to different places and met different people, the ones I remember
were the Airmen who took pride in themselves and their work. They gave their best no matter how minute or
medial a task and that spoke more to me about them than anything they could
have said. They took pride in what they
did, but what is pride?
To me, pride
is actions, if you’re proud about something you care for it and you try to make
it better. If your truck is your pride
and joy, you take care of it. If you’re proud of your child, you boast about
him or her.
years back, I was lucky enough to go through the marine academy advanced course,
our Senior Non-Commissioned Officer Academy equivalent, and I learned to view
what we do and how we serve with different eyes.
point during the course, I was posed a simple question: “What do you do?”
Without hesitation I started to answer that question by telling the instructor
what my job was, with as little jargon as I could.
finishing my explanation and feeling pretty satisfied, the instructor looked at
me and the rest of the class and said, “You know, that’s the difference between
our two services. I ask you what you do and you answer with what your job
is. If you ask any Marine what they do,
the answer is always the same: ‘I’m a Marine.’”
The mere pride
of saying “I’m a Marine” rang with fulfillment, self-respect and honor. From then on, I’ve had a different attitude
about serving because it’s not just about what our jobs are, it’s how you
present yourself and truly strive to excel that truly matters. As much as I would love to see a future where
we can just call ourselves Airmen when we’re posed this very same question,
nothing wrong with taking pride in what you do.
We all had
different reasons as to why we joined and maybe it wasn’t to wash dishes or
hand out towels, but that doesn’t mean that they are mediocre jobs and require
Excellence in all
you do—it’s what the Air Force asks of us and it’s what some forget. Too many times, I have seen people get caught
up in thinking that their current job is one they did not want to do, which
often leads to them lacking the desire to excel. Some easily forget that we
volunteered to serve and the core values must always be placed ahead of our own
desires. The Air Force requires excellence
in all you do, not just the things you want to do.
It may be
easy for some to blame “them” or “other people” when they don’t get something
they feel they deserved, but you have to understand that sometimes, while the
door of opportunity may appear to be closed, if your solution and value is
real, it will open once you’ve effectively displayed your value first. You
have to earn what you get and it all starts with being the best no matter what
being proud to be an Airman because it’s what you are and it’s what you do.