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Chief Griner
Chief Master Sgt. Jeffrey Griner, 71st Medical Group Superintendent
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The road to success is always under construction

Posted 9/13/2011   Updated 9/13/2011 Email story   Print story


by Chief Master Sgt. Jeffrey Griner
71st Medical Group superintendent

9/13/2011 - VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- I was returning from a recent TDY and while waiting on the plane to debark, I noticed a young man wearing a T-shirt with some words on the back. He was standing a few rows in front of me and it was difficult to see the entire back of the shirt.

I maneuvered myself to a spot where I could see between the other passengers. The T-shirt said, "The road to success is always under construction."

There was a crude drawing accompanying the caption of a road full of potholes. At the far end of the road was the word "Success." At the beginning of the patch of road was a sign that read, "Under Construction."

I thought to myself, how true that is. No matter what we achieve there is always more to be done.

No matter where we are in our life or profession, nothing is ever finished. It is always under construction. No matter what we accomplish there is always another goal to achieve or obstacle to overcome -- but this is a good thing. It is part of our professional growth and development. It is how we learn and grow.

As members of the "Profession of Arms" we always have construction happening in our careers. I think every enlisted member, from the day we graduate Basic Training, anticipates the next promotion. We all strive for the next rank.

Believe me, getting promoted is not easy. If you have ever worked construction you know it can be grueling work with long hours. Getting promoted is no different. Getting promoted does not just happen.

You have to dedicate yourself to study, you have to commit to it and often you have to make personal sacrifice. But it is all worth it. You get promoted. You have achieved success -- or have you?

I have reached the highest rank that an enlisted member can obtain -- chief master sergeant. Does that mean my road is done, the construction is finished? Not hardly.

To paraphrase the words of the 71st Flying Training Wing command chief, Chief Master Sgt. Mark Aman, promotion to chief is not the end, it is just the beginning. I still have a lot of work to do. My construction at this point is not about what I construct for myself, but what I help others to construct.

So you see, no matter where we are, or what we have accomplished, there is always more construction ahead, always more to be done. Success is not a destination. It is not the end. It is simply a section of finished construction.

I have applied this illustration to military promotion, but it can just as easily apply to any aspect of our military growth and development. Professional military education begins Day One of Air Force Basic Training at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, and we continue to build on what is learned there for as long as we remain on active duty. The construction never ends.

Physical fitness -- this road is definitely always under construction. In my 29 years of active duty service, I have seen sweeping changes in physical fitness requirements and testing, each more challenging and demanding than the last.

I think by now you get my point. Enjoy your successes. You have earned them. But don't forget, there is always construction on the road ahead.

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