Regaining your faith, restoring your pride

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Jeffrey Wilson
  • 71st Flying Training Wing command chief

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Remember the very first day that you put on your uniform?

Remember the pride you felt and how you stood a little taller with your head held high?

You were proud to be part of something bigger than yourself.

Now, fast forward to today. How do you feel when you put on your uniform? Are you still as proud as you were that first day? Do you still stand tall, head held high?

Unfortunately, I feel that some of us have lost that feeling. We’ve lost the purpose of why we serve, why we joined the greatest Air Force the world has ever seen.

I have the good fortune to speak with every new airman that joins Team Vance. They share their stories of why they joined, and I get to see their excitement and the anticipation of what their career will bring.

However, some lose that excitement over time. What was a “calling” transforms into a “job." How does this happen?

For the many reasons that drew us to the military, there are an equal number of reasons why we lose our excitement to serve.

We feel over-worked and under-appreciated. We are frustrated with computer-based training, additional duties and courses on how to treat each other. It is sad we still need that last one in our Air Force.

We are frustrated and confused by the massive amount of change that has taken place in the military over the last five years.

To sum it all up, we have lost faith in the Air Force and the senior leaders that create and implement policy and programs.

Now the Air Force and its senior leaders – that includes me -- have the difficult task of regaining your faith. With the change of administration and a new Secretary of Defense, Chief of Staff of the Air Force and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force, we are already taking steps towards accomplishing that task.

We will continue the reduction of additional duties and menial tasks. You are and will continue to be empowered to initiate changes to make your work centers more efficient and effective. We will continue to carry your concerns to the highest levels so they are heard and addressed.

We will see positive changes to many Air Force programs. We will continue to work to regain your faith in us and in the institution.

You may ask, “So what?”

Here is “So what.”

This is a critical and exciting time to be part of the Air Force. We are and will continue to develop Airmen as we grow the force. Your voice will be heard on how to make it faster, stronger and more efficient. Yes, you do have the ability to mold tomorrow’s Air Force.

Here is my personal commitment to you: I will not take for granted the privilege of wearing this uniform. I will make sure you know how important you are to this mission and you have the tools and resources needed to successfully complete it.

I will stop at nothing to help you regain the faith and pride you had that day you put the Air Force uniform on for the first time.