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May Chief's Concerns

U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. David Alderman, with the 169th Maintenance Group at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., poses for his portrait April 17, 2013.  (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Caycee Watson/Released)

U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. David Alderman, with the 169th Maintenance Group at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., poses for his portrait April 17, 2013. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Caycee Watson/Released)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, South Carolina -- There are many things in life that we cannot control. One thing we can control, though, is our attitude and how we respond to situations. As a unit, we have been very busy recently with deployments far from home, inspections, and exercises. We have been attacked, worked long hours, and even worn chemical ensembles for long hours in extremely hot temperatures. We are facing more and more budget constraints that make it even harder to perform our duties. It is easy to become overwhelmed and even dejected. That is the time to take another look at what we do and why we belong to the South Carolina Air National Guard. We face danger so our fellow Americans won't have to. We subject ourselves to grueling inspections to remain sharp, focused, and at the top of our game. Throughout these taskings and training scenarios, we must never embrace a negative attitude. If we allow ourselves to become frustrated, or even angry, we begin to make bad decisions. Research has proven that people with can-do attitudes work harder, persevere in the face of obstacles and perform better, especially in stressful situations. These individuals consistently make wiser decisions. Wise decisions lead to much greater results. Americans are counting on us to protect and defend their freedom.

During April, our war fighting skills were put to the test by a robust Exercise Evaluation Team. While being inspected by numerous inspectors from our wing and several other units, we were tasked to fly a large number of simulated combat aircraft sorties while maintaining all other functions of our base under wartime conditions. Many of us were tasked to perform duties that were above and beyond our normal responsibilities. We erected tents, processed personnel and equipment and readied aircraft and facilities for combat. Our positive attitudes during this most recent exercise made a huge difference in the outcome. We were able to regenerate all fifteen required aircraft in the allotted time, fly ninety sorties, defend our home base and avoid or control chemical contamination. We recovered all base facilities in a timely manner after several ground and missile attacks. The majority of us wore the chemical ensemble with the gas mask for two hours while continuing to function in our work areas. Without a positive attitude, none of these activities could have been accomplished effectively.

The attitudes of others seem to be contagious, as well. No one wants to be around people who constantly grumble about how bad everything is. They all begin to feel the same way. Positive attitudes, however, encourage and inspire others. People naturally migrate toward the positive people. We all become more productive when we maintain a healthy attitude.

Our future at McEntire will surely include more inspections, exercises and deployments. We must maintain a positive attitude through it all. The entire unit will benefit with continued successful endeavors. So when we are faced with long deployments, inspections and exercises, we must hold our heads up and maintain a great attitude. The United States of America is relying on us.