Keep focus, perspective

  • Published
  • By Maj. Dwain Slaughter
  • 28th Maintenance Squadron
(Editor's note: Maj. Dwain Slaughter, 28th Maintenance Squadron commander, dedicates this article to a fallen Airman. 

"These thoughts are in remembrance of Kenneth Hauprich Jr., one of our fellow Airmen who gave his life Nov. 8 in the service of our great nation," Maj. Slaughter said. 

Senior Airman Hauprich's sister, Senior Airman Elizabeth Hauprich, is a member of the 28th MXS.)

As many may know, 28th Bomb Wing Airmen have practiced for months for our operational readiness inspection now taking place. Along the way, many of us, in a tired moment, have wondered why we put ourselves through such challenging times when we are simultaneously preparing for real-world deployments. 

The answer is found in the requirement to "sharpen your sword" before battle. It's critical that we have an outside team of experts, like the inspector general team, take a hard look at how Ellsworth prepares to go to war in each of our respective areas. The ORI is just one way the Air Force ensures we're able to keep our focus to sustain the world's most lethal combat capability - air power. 

Prime Minister Winston Churchill, former leader of Britain, once said, "For good or for ill, air mastery today is the supreme expression of military power, and fleets and armies, however vital and important, must accept a subordinate rank." 

Our nation's Air Force is critical to the security of our nation, and we must constantly strive to keep that sword sharpened. 

In keeping that sword sharpened, Airmen must focus on doing the job to the best of their ability, one day at a time. It's okay to think and plan ahead, but we can lose focus or become overwhelmed if we try to stare too far into the future and end up missing the important things today. Approaching daily tasks with a positive attitude can make all the difference in achieving success. 

Duke University basketball coach, Mike Krzyzewski, said, "When our goal is to try to do our best, when our focus is on preparation and sacrifice and effort - instead of numbers on the scoreboard - we will never lose." 

By striving to improve each day, you step into your work area and help others do the same, which makes you a key contributor in ensuring mission success. 

This attitude of improvement contributes to the challenge of having the right perspective. Airmen need a reminder every once in a while of what it is we're fighting for. Some of the more obvious reasons are to protect our nation's freedoms, liberties and future prosperity. Those words are easy to write or speak, but the responsibility that we, as Airmen, bear to ensure them for our nation is great. 

General T. Michael Moseley, Air Force Chief of Staff, said, "To me, our warrior ethos is the warfighting-focused culture, conviction, character, ethic, mindset, spirit and soul we foster in all Airmen. It's the pride in our heritage, the recognition that our nation depends on us to dominate air, space and cyberspace, and our willing acceptance of the burden of those immense responsibilities. We're duty-bound to imbue our newest Airmen with these warrior virtues during basic training and foster them throughout every Airman's career." 

From a more personal perspective, all Airmen have raised their right hand and sworn to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States" even at the ultimate sacrifice of giving their lives to do so - an incredible price that many before us have paid and Airmen today are willing to pay to ensure a hopeful future for our nation. 

In undertaking this awesome responsibility, Airmen must not forget to always be professional. Whether we're on or off duty, remember that we're always responsible to be professional Airmen. We're being observed almost anywhere we find ourselves. On duty, it may be our superiors, peers or subordinates who are watching. Off duty, we represent the Air Force in the local community, and they hold us to a high standard as their nation's best. 

Our CSAF reminds us that "commanders and supervisors at all levels must lead by personal example, ensure compliance by all and reinforce the highest standards of the United States Air Force. No one should ever be given a reason to doubt our discipline; our integrity; or our ability to fly, fight and win the nation's wars. We must never betray the nation's trust in its Airmen as guardians of the common defense."