Are you giving it your all?

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Gary Gualano
  • Air Force Financial Services Center
Each of us in the Air Force has an important role to play, why else would the Air Force employ us?

Whether we're a pilot, maintainer, computer technician or finance journeyman, collectively we ensure our Air Force succeeds in its mission to fly, fight and win.

Today's leaders are facing challenges as large as any time in our 62 year history, yet we've got far fewer troops doing the mission. In the last five years alone, we've seen our manpower numbers shrink by nearly 45,000. What does this mean? We're doing more with less. Even more noteworthy is we're doing it while our nation is fighting two wars simultaneously.

The United States Air Force has experienced a lot of change since President Truman signed the National Defense Act of 1947, from the Berlin Airlift, where we "cut our teeth," to today's fight, the Air Force has faithfully fulfilled its duty to serve and protect our nation. Although much has changed through the years, one truth transcends our history and holds true even today: It still takes dedicated, hard-working, results-focused Airmen to get the job done. Especially now as we face an incredible operations tempo supporting ongoing contingency operations, we can't afford for even one of us to fall short. The consequences of doing so could result in jeopardized safety, wasted resources, and ultimately, have a negative impact on our ability to accomplish the mission.

How well we do our job is telling of our work ethic. It's also telling of how we measure up to our core values. As Air Force members, we must subscribe to these professional standards as a matter of routine and strive towards them consistently in our work. In the Fall 1995 edition of "Air Power Journal" Gen. Ronald Fogleman said of our core values, "As members of the joint team, we Airmen are part of a unique profession that is founded on the premise of service before self. We are not engaged in just another job; we are practitioners of the profession of arms. We are entrusted with the security of our nation, the protection of its citizens, and the preservation of its way of life. In this capacity, we serve as guardians of America's future. By its very nature, this responsibility requires us to place the needs of our service and our country before personal concerns."

General Fogleman's words encapsulate the essence of our core values and why each of us must "give it our all" each day when we show up to work. It isn't unreasonable to expect this, or too much to ask, when compared against what lies in the balance. It's a unique aspect of our chosen profession that we must understand and accept at face value.

For those of us who've had the benefit of good role models growing up, working hard and taking pride in our work-effort is second nature. For many of us, working hard and learning to be responsible began with an allowance for helping out with household chores such as cutting the grass, taking out the garbage or assisting with any number of things that needed to be done. When we turned 16, we had a chance to get our first real paying job, perhaps as a waiter or dishwasher, or working in a fast food restaurant. Whenever it started for us, we began developing an awareness of our work habit and attitude toward work. When we joined the Air Force, we brought all of this with us.

Whatever our work caliber when we joined the Air Force, it needs to be especially high now that we're in. For the Air Force to meet its foremost responsibility to organize, train and equip to meet the needs of our national leadership and combatant commanders, each of us has to be at our absolute best, every day. It's through consistent performance of our individual duties, on a daily basis, that enables the Air Force to successfully carry out its 12 core functions ranging from nuclear deterrence to agile combat support.

The bar has been set especially high and cannot be lowered if we are to succeed. Each of us is responsible for rising up and doing our part to ensure we sustain the level of excellence that we've achieved over time. Our countrymen, comrades-in-arms, friends and allies around the world count on us to sustain this excellence. Even our nation's enemies believe that we will.

Excellence doesn't come easily, nor is it easily preserved. It's only through our collective commitment, dedication, energy and focus that the Air Force is enabled to succeed in its mission. Keeping this at the forefront of our minds as we perform our daily duties is most certainly important, but self-gratifying as well. So when you show up for work tomorrow, take a moment and answer this question -- Are you giving it your all?