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News > Officership — a forgotten art?
Officership — a forgotten art?

Posted 10/17/2008   Updated 10/17/2008 Email story   Print story


56th Maintenance Operations Squadron commander

10/17/2008 - LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- Beginning in the 19th century in Europe, officership began to take shape as a profession in that military officers sought careers in the profession of 'officership.' Today, rather than a calling, officership seems to be a profession in the military, much like any number of civilian professions. Where do you stand on this? 

There's a disconnect in my mind; our military profession is anything but 'ordinary.' We take an oath to symbolize a commitment to serve a common good based on our core competencies. We hold positions in which we are subject to harm, or even more important, sending others into harm's way. We must not let our jobs turn into 'just another profession.' Regardless of career field, your charge is an important one, and one of the basic tenets is leading by example. 

What does our tradition mean to you? We all know we're a small part in the most powerful Air Force the world has ever known, but what does that mean to you? Does it mean, you're just a tiny part, so, how well you do your job really doesn't make that much difference to the big picture? Or do you have the moral courage each and every day to look yourself in the mirror and say, "I do make a difference, and I'm going out each day to put forth the effort that will make the Air Force stronger and better." If you don't do that, and don't feel that way, you're just tagging along for the ride. And, frankly, you're probably more of a burden on the rest of the Air Force. The truth is, some people out there are tagging along for retirement, or perhaps the next permanent-change-of-station, or maybe because they just don't have anything better going for them. 

Whatever the reason, if that's you, it's time to do whatever it takes to re-evaluate and regroup. With our current situation, we can't afford to have anyone less than 100-percent engaged. How would you feel if your life was in someone's hands and you knew they were somewhere between 60 and 70 percent engaged in the situation? You'd probably be pretty worried. 

Each day countless Airmen put their lives in the hands of other Airmen, in a variety of jobs, not just over in the desert or on the front lines, but right here at home -- at Luke Air Force Base. 

Before another day goes by, I challenge you to evaluate your commitment to the Air Force and if you aren't stacking up, it's time to address it. Have the courage to either take the steps needed to remedy the situation, or talk with your supervisor, flight chief, officer-in-charge or commander. It could end up being a matter of someone's life or death.
All Airmen, I challenge you, especially senior NCOs and officers, to take an honest, subjective look at yourself and see how you stack up. 

Stepping into command of the 56th Maintenance Operations Squadron here at Luke, I had an idea of what to expect, but once you sit in the seat, the enormity of the responsibility hits -- 250-plus people under my command. 

I've seen a lot in my time with the Air Force, good and bad. Sometimes I'm surprised, but rarely ever shocked. I've seen troops let the Air Force down; both enlisted and officers. 

Can you believe, at Lackland AFB, Texas, last month, I watched a young staff sergeant park his car in front of the ATM and walk over without his hat on, get his money and walk back to his car. I'm sure each of us has examples like this we've seen -- just about all ranks including officers. Are you going to make the extra effort to instill our traditions and values? 

Talk to almost anyone who's been in the Air Force for 20 or so years, and they'll most likely tell you the Air Force today isn't what it once was. Why is that? Is it the quality of Airmen coming in, the training they're receiving, or just the way times have changed our society and our values -- sort of an evolution? 

I've asked myself this question many times and I don't know the answer. Officership and professionalism is in our hearts. It's what we believe in and hold true; if our Air Force is to continue to be the best in the world, we owe it to ourselves, the Air Force and the next generation who come into this business, to pride ourselves in what we do -- come to work each day to make our Air Force that much stronger.

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