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Be a Pro!

Col. David A. Hammerschmidt official photo

Col. David A. Hammerschmidt official photo

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – What does the word Professional mean to you?

If you haven’t really thought about what it means to be a professional, then perhaps you associate the term with the actions, plays or accomplishments of professional athletes. These are on display regularly with clips from the ESPN or Sportscenter’s Top 10 plays of the week. I would agree that these clips are impressive and great examples of professionals in action.

Do you consider yourself to be a professional?  What about when someone praises your actions with a statement like “Wow, that was great” or “Dang, you nailed that” or if they told you “That was a very professional job” Would you consider yourself a pro then?  As members in the service, we are in and part of the “Profession of Arms,” so how you view yourself and your actions as a “professional” in the Profession of Arms is important.

I will offer up two components for consideration that I believe are common among professionals: planning and preparation.  To do a great job in any skill, trade or profession requires a degree of deliberate planning and preparation. 

Professional athletes plan and prepare each and every day through practice.  In the military we plan and prepare each and every day through training.  They practice in preparation for the upcoming week’s game.  We show up and train in preparation to support tomorrow’s missions.  Athletes plan, prepare and practice with a goal of making it to the championship game.  As members of the Profession of Arms, we plan, prepare and train with a goal of deterring any potential adversary from ever wanting to go head-to-head with the United States military.  The difference between professional athletes and the Profession of Arms is that we have the trust of our nation and our families that we will not fail to defend our nation ever! 

Freedom is not a birth-right of our nation.  It is a value of our nation that was fought for, protected and sustained by the planning, preparation and hard work of men and women in the Profession of Arms.  It is this deliberate and daily focus on planning and preparation that is the difference between doing a job and being a professional.  Whether it’s your rookie year as a first-term Airman or you’re a veteran player with 10 to 15 years’ experience, be a professional.  Have a plan to prepare yourself, your team, your flight, your Squadron, etc. to improve just a little bit each and every day.

“Failing to plan is planning to fail” ~ Benjamin Franklin

As we enter 2019, it is a perfect time to raise your game for yourself, your team and your squadron by planning and preparing for each day. The same approach can easily be applied to your personal life. Whether it’s planning to save money for a wedding, home or a child, preparing to run in a marathon or for your physical fitness test or planning out a date night for later in the week a little up front planning and preparation will help turn that task into something that exceeds expectations and earns the respect and mark of a true professional.  It’s an honor to serve with so many dedicated professionals.  I wish you and yours a great 2019 and thank you!