Does the shoe fit? Step up and take the lead

  • Published
  • By Capt. Sean Papworth
  • 71st Logistics Readiness Squadron commander
In our great Air Force there are always opportunities to excel. To put it another way, we can compare our professional growth to that of a child growing into an adult -- each time we gain rank or attain a higher level of expertise in our chosen field, we outgrow our old shoes and try on a larger pair. Sometimes we encounter a growth spurt and are thrust into the next bigger size. This can be rather awkward if we are not quite sure we are ready for new shoes and we ask ourselves, "Does the shoe fit?"

There is change in the air and an approaching trend at Vance AFB that not too many people realize. With the increased operations tempo of the Air Force over that last few years, more and more junior officers are having to step up to the plate and take a command or a leadership role normally reserved for a higher rank. I am one of those.

For the last three months, I have been in command of the 71st Logistics Readiness Squadron. Talk about a growth spurt. I felt as if I had jumped up three shoes sizes.

Bigger shoes not only present a challenge, but also an opportunity to excel by stepping up and taking the lead. For those of us that have never held a command before, or who have never been in the leadership spotlight where our decisions and actions affect not only us but the people in our unit, the base and, 110699to some degree, the Air Force, it feels like a colossal responsibility. It was for me, but then a quote from our sixth president, John Quincy Adams, came to mind, "Courage and perseverance have a magical talisman, before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish into air."

As Airmen we have the courage to make the right decisions and do right in action because we have the core values of Integrity, Service, and Excellence to guide us. As Airmen we have the perseverance and the tenacity to follow our given path and guide those that follow us. We all have the potential to lead; we all have the loyalty to follow.

When I first took command, I asked myself "Does the shoe fit?" Looking back I can answer, "I believe it does."