It's 'my' base

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Bradley Pickens
  • 56th Mission Support Group deputy commander
I have the best job in the Air Force. As the support group deputy, I get to enable the wing mission and I look forward to working at "my" base every day.

Part of my Monday routine is to cruise the base and look for problems that popped up over the weekend. I regularly see people who have made Luke "their" base and their home.

For instance, I proudly watched a young lieutenant escort an elderly couple up the stairs to the Military Personnel flight, even though his errand was complete and he was on his way out the door. I saw a four-year-old chase down a plastic bag at the commissary and throw it away, earning an "atta-boy" from his dad. I even scoped out the progress made daily on the overpass and all the quality-of-life improvements the wing is undertaking. These inspections are not always heartwarming.

When it comes to stewardship of the base, I've noticed some people get it and others don't. I am confident the shade-tree mechanic who left his used motor oil in the car wash doesn't get it. I doubt he ever took the time to realize that one selfcentered act could cost the base thousands in environmental fines or could shut down the car wash permanently. This obviously isn't "his" base. This morning, I listened to a retired chief complain loudly about the parking congestion caused by overpass construction. He waved his AAFES drink cup in the direction of construction and used colorful language to voice his displeasure to all who would listen. I fought the urge to explain that progress comes at a mild cost and that the project was actually well planned to minimize traffic interruptions. When I came out of the base exchange, I saw his empty drink cup sitting on one of the gumball machines. A trash can was exactly four steps away. I had to wonder why he doesn't "get it" as well as the four-year-old?

I am also fairly certain the NCO who rolled down her car window and chucked a half-eaten tootsie pop out the window doesn't get it either. When I handed it back to her and said "I think you dropped something," she replied with an astonished look. She would never do that if Luke was "her" base like it is mine.

How do we convince every Thunderbolt that Luke is the best place in the Air Force to live and work? How do we get personnel at all levels to look around and ask "what can I do to help?"

The answer is simple: My mother says, "If everyone would sweep in front of their own front door, the whole world would be clean." I challenge you to make up your mind that Luke is "your" base. I also challenge you to make a difference in some small way. I'll bet if you do, you'll start thinking you have the best job in the Air Force as well.