AF needs Airmen to maintain identity

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- Some of us may remember playing the pool game "Marco-Polo." Some of us may still use this game to entertain our children at the pool today. One player closes his or her eyes and repeatedly shouts out "Marco" while the other players tread water and respond "Polo." All the while, they attempt to shift quickly to avoid the closed-eye swimmer who is trying to locate them from the sound of their voices.

Our lives are stuffed with activities and demands which have us treading water with our eyes closed, while trying to maintain our locational awareness in the middle of an ocean; we feel as though we cannot see exactly where we are. The analogy of this game can be applied to the lives of military members. Being in uniform requires adherence to rules and standards, with which some people have difficulty. Being away from home and around a diversified group of people can make one feel displaced, treading water in the middle of an ocean and out of touch with how they have previously identified themselves before entering service.

For others, the load of duty, school and family obligations could have them venturing from who they used to be. The bottom line is this: we all have moments in life where we may feel as if we have misplaced our identity and lost ourselves in what we now do, versus maintaining our authentic character.

The Air Force is comprised of a talented, diverse group of Airmen who make this branch of service the greatest in the world. The one thing that will forever remain, no matter what changes are made throughout the lifespan of the Air Force, is that this branch needs you. It requires your personal identity for continuous success. It breathes through your abilities and resourcefulness to accomplish the tasks at hand. It moves by your motivation and ingenuity to excel further than yesterday's accomplishments. It is a dynamic entity of geographically separated bases and units that collectively create an air power that is second to none. However, none of this is possible without the identity of its members.

So remain true to your character and who you are within this family of diversified members. Never lose who you are to the demands and changes that military life brings about.

In the words of Dr. Brene Brown, University of Houston research professor, "What we know matters, but who we are matters more."