MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. --
Over the past couple of months, I have had the pleasure of attending an Officer Training School and Basic Military Training graduation ceremony. I was very impressed with the professional development of our new officer and enlisted members supporting the total force. In many instances, it was emotional as our newest Airmen saw their families for the first time after eight weeks or seeing that new officer receive their first salute from their mother or father who had or was serving in the military. These training schools are the first in a long line of development opportunities each of us has as a Swamp Fox.
After attending technical school, pilot training or medical courses, we are challenged to complete our AFSC training requirements. This is the beginning of your development as a professional Airman. I want to take a minute and talk about the word professional. The Cambridge Dictionary defines a professional as “a person that has a job that needs skill, education or training.” This is each of us here serving in the 169th Fighter Wing. Every one of us in the wing needs to continue our skill training, education and leadership development.
As a young Airman, your particular skill training may be the focus of your time. However, developing your leadership skills and strengths shouldn’t be pushed to the side as you become a professional. As an NCO, you are looked upon as the technical expert in your career field. You will continue to develop your leadership and management skills. You as a professional continue to grow with education, the NCO Academy and by mentorship. You are a mentor yourself to those new highly motivated BMT graduates I talked about earlier. Don’t let them down! You are now a professional trainer and leader.
As your development continues to the SNCO ranks, you gain credibility by your technical expertise but you gain influence by how you develop yourself as a leader. Management is important but leadership is critical. Have you developed as a professional leader? The wing leadership is investing in developing you as a leader with some great opportunities coming up across all of our ranks. I applaud Chief Peterson’s initiative for his Dinner and Develop series for the enlisted corps. I look forward to helping you reach your full leadership potential. Even the most senior leaders need to continue to develop and hone their leadership skills through lifelong learning. What have you learned today?
I have talked with many of you on my walks around the base. You have lots of great ideas to make McEntire JNGB better. I challenge you to take the lead on your idea, get involved with the Airmen’s council, 5/6 or SNCO councils to start implementing your ideas. The senior leaders are open to trying new things. We know that all of them may not work but we will learn from each new adventure. Each of us has the opportunity to make a difference in the way we operate and learn. We want to try new ideas and challenge the saying, “this is the way we have always done it”. The more you are involved with the development of your idea, the more successful it will be as you have a vested interest in the final outcome. What is the first thing you would change in your work center or McEntire JNGB? The wing needs and wants your brilliant ideas to make us better than we already are. As we start to implement new ideas, it will generate even more ideas and more involvement across the wing. As John Maxwell says, “momentum build momentum”.
In closing, I want to thank each of you for what you do for our wing, state and nation. You are part of less than one percent that volunteers to put on this uniform and defend America’s way of life. You started out motivated from the time of your enlistment, BMT or OTS and we want to keep you motivated throughout your career. The wing wants to invest in your development as we all transition to being professional Airmen. I ask that you be committed to your development and transition to being a professional in your respective career field. I look forward to seeing where you take our Wing.