The "good ole days" here to stay

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Brian Lavoie
  • 28th Operations Group superintendent
I remember when I first joined the Air Force.

My uniform was always spotless, my shoes always shined, and the smile (although often large) was kept behind my military bearing.

In those first few months of being an Airman, I learned about fitness, teamwork, military discipline and self discipline. My team of Airmen would never let another Airmen fail, and we always looked out for each other 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

When it came to fitness we ran together, we sweat together, and we were successful together. I also learned about the Air Force structure and witnessed the strong commitment to excellence that was making me a new member of the Air Force.

This commitment to excellence extended after basic military training, when I arrived at my first duty station after technical school. I was met by my sponsor and supervisor, then-Sergeant Tito Gonzales, who not only helped my wife and I get a place to stay for the night, he also gave us a tour of the base. He explained his expectations and what my responsibilities were.

After undergoing basic military training and the structured technical school, I was in awe of how many freedoms awaited me at my first base. I had the privilege of shopping in the base commissary and the base exchange.

I had the ability to go anywhere I wanted, as long as it was within the local area and I was still getting paid. I reminded myself, however, that in order for me to continue to have this newfound freedom, I would have to be a good Airman.

As a new Airman, I remember when my non-commissioned officers instructed me about my job and how to excel as an Airman on and off duty.

Sergeant Gonzales was also quick to correct any missteps I would make in either my job or as an Airman, and would not stand for me embarrassing him or other senior NCOs. I was a quick learner.

I quickly absorbed as much knowledge as I could from those above me. I saw the attributes I could emulate and others that I would not. As a result, I learned a lot from my first group of NCOs and senior NCOs.

Twenty-five years later, when I see newly-arrived Airmen with spotless uniforms and green boots, I remember how proud I felt arriving to my first duty station.

These Airmen still arrive with smiles on their faces and have high expectations of a grand Air Force experience and the pride of belonging to a team. Their fitness is not an issue, and their military bearing and self discipline are still freshly instilled by their military training instructors.

In continuing this tradition of excellence, Ellsworth supervisors still meet their Airmen at the airport and secure appropriate temporary living conditions. Airmen continue to enjoy their newfound freedom to move about, but they also respect the responsibility to be good Airmen on and off duty.

These are still the "good ole days" of the Air Force, just in a different decade. Let's all continue to provide the positive example all Airmen deserve to see when they join our Ellsworth team.