BIRMINGHAM, Ala. --
As I prepare to retire from the military at the end of this year, I thought about what to say in my last Commander’s Column article. I decided I didn’t want to make it about me or my military career. I decided to instead try and impart a little bit of wisdom from what I have learned over the years, primarily while serving in the military and while employed as a defense contractor in the civilian world.
When I enlisted into the Air National Guard on March 2, 1982 as an Airman First Class, I was assigned to the 225th Combat Communication Squadron in Gadsden, AL. I was 20 at the time and joined primarily to help pay for college and jump start my career working with computers. At the time there was a strong need for people to learn computer programming and other computer related skills. Starting out as a Telecommunication Operations Specialist at the 225th, I learned about computers and received money for college. Joining the ANG did indeed jump start my career. The goals I had set for myself for learning about computers and graduating college did pay off and joining the Air National Guard was a very big part of that.
I learned early on in high school that setting goals in sports, grades, or even saving money for a car, for example, really does pay off. I learned that it takes discipline and perseverance to see the goals to fruition. There is something about setting a goal that motivates us to work harder than we would otherwise. Every time you think about slacking up or even quitting because the going gets tough, focus on the goal you set and you will much more likely persevere.
Setting goals can be applied to almost anything that is positive in life. In the military, it could be your next promotion, to become a Chief one day or to get a commission to become an officer. Once you set a goal like one of the above, you have to set smaller ones that will help you reach your primary goal, like completing the required professional military education and air force specialty code training, and passing your physical fitness test. In the civilian world, it could be a college degree or some sort of certification that is required for a job you have always wanted. Examples of smaller goals to help keep you on track for these civilian goals include making good grades each semester and perhaps finding an internship and performing well that will get you the job experience you will need.
As I look back over my almost 37 year career in the military I quickly realize that God given opportunities and talents were the most important part of any success that I may have attained but that setting goals was a very important part and it truly does pays off. I highly recommend that whatever you aspire to do or accomplish, do your research and if it is right for you and worth pursuing be sure to set goals. Write your goals down on paper so you will see them daily. Here is a great quote from Henry Ford: “Obstacles are the frightful things you see when you take your eye off your goal.”
I have really enjoyed serving with you in this great wing. I wish you all the best. May God bless you in all your endeavors.