|Personnel||Adjutant General's Biography||Command Message||TAG Policies|
A common question I hear when visiting with Airmen and Space Force Guardians is “what keeps you up at night?”
That is a great question and depending on the day of the week, week of the month, month of the year, the answers can and do vary greatly.
Recently, I was asked a follow up question, “what gets you up in the morning?”
This too can be answered in a multitude of ways – the easiest answer is my family; to care for and support them, to watch my daughters grow into amazing women, and watch my wife follow her passions and be extremely happy and successful.
So, if that gets me up, what keeps me excited to jump out of bed, put on my uniform and drive to work each morning with a smile and bated anticipation of what the day holds…?
It’s quite simple – the amazing service members that we have the honor and privilege of serving alongside.
The Airmen and Guardians I have personally served with in three different air wings, totaling more than 60% of the 6,000 Airmen and Guardians comprising the New York Air National Guard.
Service is an amazing thing.
On the surface we all serve for various reasons: a family history, a calling, a desire to receive the most amazing training, education and travel opportunities, a secure paycheck, pension, etc. We want to be part of something larger than oneself. But even deeper, I believe there’s something that touches the fiber of our being and it’s one thing we all truly share: SELFLESSNESS.
Being a leader, no matter what position you hold, is an honor and privilege.
You have been entrusted, not because you’re the smartest person, not because you’re the strongest or fastest, but because you’ve demonstrated traits and abilities that set you apart.
We’ve all been exposed to great leaders, good leaders and even some not so good throughout our careers.
I would be willing to bet we’ve all gravitated to the ones that have been humble, approachable and creditable.
In my mind, that’s the baseline, along with our core values, that every Airmen, Guardian, Soldier, Sailor, Marine or Coast Guardsman must have: a great leader must also have unwavering Integrity and be someone who genuinely cares for their people.
Service members work 12-hour shifts, nights, weekends, holidays, take back-to-back trips. At times they go into harm’s way with little to no notice and often with little to no regard to the impact on their personal lives and that of their families.
They do their best to make life pretty easy for their leaders.
The challenge for leaders is to see this and not take advantage of or abuse it.
It’s very easy to lose sight of the asks or demands we place on our service members. If we keep going back to the well, eventually, it’ll dry up if not given the opportunity to replenish.
Modern technology has only exacerbated this with our ability to contact anyone, anytime, and anywhere. This ability can consume us, and we can lose focus of the impact our actions are having on others and their families.
Our service members are truly selfless.
They will drop everything to answer our nation's calling. They will literally take a bullet for one another, shrug it off as a minor flesh wound and show up for duty the next morning.
As leaders, we owe it to them to be better than they expect, to value and honor them, and cherish their selflessness, by having unwavering integrity and genuinely care – 24/7.
They’re why we are the greatest fighting force on Earth, and we owe them nothing less.