Wise man or a fool?

  • Published
  • By Maj. Matthew Gamblin
  • 374th Maintenance Squadron commander
A certain analogy can be made between climbing Japan's most famous mountain and life as an Airman. The mountain is majestic and beautiful from afar, rugged and tough when looked at closely. An Airman's life is often seen as soft by the other service branches, mostly in jest, but deployments and downsizing weigh heavily on Airmen and their families. Climbing the mountain, like life in the Air Force, can be tough, rewarding and, with a little luck, the view from the top is amazing.

With climbing Mt. Fuji, you must be prepared: drink plenty of water -- and not much else the day before; carry raingear--the weather changes quickly and often; wear tough boots and climb with a partner -- and it's a climb, not a hike. These things and more will help you complete the "mission."

Approaching your life as an Airman can be approached the same way as the climb to the top: be prepared and you'll make it, if you're not prepared, it will be a tougher, more formidable task. Whether you're a second lieutenant or senior NCO with 20-plus years in the service, preparation is the key to success.

From the start of your career, job knowledge forms the basis of your performance. Whether pilot, doctor, maintainer or any other of the many tasks Airmen perform, technical ability and the capability to put that ability to use is how the Air Force's mission gets done. But knowledge is not the only component to mission accomplishment. There's attitude and the associated effort that must be expended to take that knowledge and make it mean something. The last and possibly the most important aspect of mission accomplishment is teamwork.

Being part of a team, serving with others of like mind is not uniquely military, but it is a key component of all military units. Every person in a unit is important, and yet simultaneously expendable. The parts are always greater than their sum, and the talents needed are varied.

The key components of job knowledge, attitude, effort and teamwork will ensure mission accomplishment whether it's an Air Force career or climbing a tough mountain. So, as you go through your Air Force career, be it four or 20-plus years, be prepared, have fun and the enjoyment you have and the friends you make will make it a rewarding experience.