Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Advice to New Airmen

Dear Airman, More than 32 years after graduation from the Air Force Academy, I reflect back to see that I’ve applied a few “rules” in my life. I impart this wisdom not because it is fool-proof, but as a suggestion of something that works for me, and may work for you. 1. For the most part I have associated myself with people who do the right thing, regardless of who is (or is not) looking. I trust these people to have sound, predictable judgment, the kind of judgment that I’ve found is good to exercise when performing the mission (like flying an aircraft). 2. I aligned myself with organizations that do the right thing, stand for the right principles, helped me learn and grow, and encouraged me to move up and/or get promoted during my career. I’ve been exposed to some petty/competitive groups that wanted to tear me down in order to promote themselves, and I didn’t stay associated with them for very long. 3. I tried to treat people the way they wanted to be treated. I found that most people want respect for who they are and talents they have. Also, that most good, professional people just want a fair shot at performing in their job or completing a task. As a Squadron Commander I felt it was my duty to remove as many obstacles that I could, and the results were that many of the personnel completed the task so much better than I had expected. 4. I tried to never miss an opportunity to learn, and to teach. As a young copilot in C-130s I got quizzed by the aircraft commander or flight engineer during a long overwater flight. We could have just read a book, but the review of emergency and operational procedures made me better prepared for the next checkride. Later, as an instructor, I applied the same rule and found that in some situations I was teaching without the individual even knowing. And as a Commander I really tried to train my future replacement(s), so that good leadership was perpetuated. I’ve found the Air Force Association to be one of those groups that allow me to experience and practice my 4 rules. As an association of volunteers, I find throughout our organization people who are passionate in their support for the military personnel at the local base, the military family, and the local community. I’ve been mentored and treated with respect. I have attended the last five National Conventions, and I have been thoroughly impressed by how the AFA members have conducted the business of the association in a dedicated, professional manner with only the highest principles displayed. As the Georgia AFA President, I organized and hosted this year’s State Convention and Awards Luncheon. Remembering my experience from previous awards luncheons I wanted each and every recipient to feel welcome, appreciated, and honored. I wanted their hard work to be recognized, and to know that their extra effort was worth it. I think our state organization gave back to the Air Force community in a meaningful way, did the right thing, and treated people the way they wanted to be treated.  

The Air Force Association,, is a not for profit organization working to educate the public about the critical role of aerospace power in the defense of our nation; advocate aerospace power and a strong national defense; and supports the United States Air Force, the Air Force Family and Aerospace Education.

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