Take care of yourself; take care of each other; take care of this place

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Jeffrey Griner
  • 71st Medical Group superintendent
My assignment prior to coming to Vance AFB was in San Antonio, Texas, where my son attended Holmes High School. There were three lines on the school marquee -- Take care of yourself; take care of each other; take care of this place. 

I think these meaningful words can easily define the Air Force way of life, with significant impact on mission accomplishment. 

Take care of yourself begins with good physical conditioning. The Air Force has recognized this for many years and has taken significant steps to promote physical fitness and conditioning. Base fitness facilities offer you state of the art equipment and provide improvement opportunities no matter what your fitness level is. 

We participate in organized unit fitness activities and are given duty time to engage in personal physical condition programs. But do not forget about your need for spiritual and emotional well being. 

Read a book, ride a bike, go fishing, spend time with your family. Do whatever you enjoy doing. 

Our spiritual health is important as well, no matter what your faith is. You may face times of hardships such as family separations, illness or death of loved ones, and other life altering events that can stress your spiritual well being. 

During these times, it is important to seek help if things become overwhelming; chaplains and mental health professionals are available to help you take care of yourself. When you take care of yourself, you will be healthier, happier and more productive. 

Take care of each other -- be a good wingman. Like physical fitness, being a good wingman is part of the Air Force culture. It is our responsibility to take care of each other. Being a good wingman means correcting deficiencies and holding each other accountable to Air Force standards. 

Stop a friend from getting behind the wheel of a car when they have been drinking too much. Help out the spouse of a deployed Airman. When you have completed your work, assist someone with theirs. Keep someone from taking advantage of another person.
I think at this point you get the idea. Being a good wingman means looking out for and taking care of each other -- we all benefit. 

Take care of this place. Treat your desk, cubicle, squadron and base as if it belonged to you, as if they were your personal possessions. We should be good stewards of the facilities and resources entrusted to us. Treat base facilities as if they were your home and maintain them in good order. Make them something you can be proud of and welcome guests to. 

Safety and security should always be at the top of the list. We must ensure our work environments are safe and healthy and that our facilities are protected from unwanted intruders. We must lock and safeguard facilities and valuables as we would our homes and personal possessions. 

Taking care of this place also means spending money wisely and not wasting resources, realizing that someone has to pay for the supplies and equipment. You should do your part to conserve whenever and wherever possible. 

Turn off the light when a room is not in use; power down equipment when feasible; recycle and reuse. Taking care of this place provides a pleasant, safe and secure environment in which to perform the mission. 

Who would have thought that three simple phrases on a marquee written for high school students could have such a significant impact -- happier, healthier and safer mission accomplishment. 

Take care of yourself; take care of each other; take care of this place.