Reservist 'proud to serve' in civilian, military organizations

  • Published
  • By Lt Col David Clark
  • 5th Flying Training Squadron
As a member of the Air Force Reserve, I lead what you may call a "double life." On Monday, I was a civilian flying for a major airline. Today, I'm an Air Force officer commanding the 5th Flying Training Squadron.
As you might imagine, managing the demands of these two jobs can be hectic. Someone asked me the other day how I keep things straight. In jest, I answered "I check my shoulders." Three stripes: Airlines. Silver maple leaves: Air Force.
Over the years however, I have come to realize that regardless of the "uniform of the day," I am always an Air Force officer.
I am grateful that the values and skills developed during my Air Force career provide structure in my life even today. I rely upon the Air Force core values to guide me in both my military and civilian career. I am often asked why I have remained in the Air Force Reserves. I have a comfortable airline job, and I could have retired from the Reserves last year! Commuting from Dallas to Enid every week is no picnic, and the time away from my wife and daughters is difficult.
I could respond with the standard answers of "it's fun to fly jets," "it's rewarding to teach new pilots" and "the additional income is good" but the real answer is far more personal.
It is simply a way of life.
Working along side the brightest, most dedicated and talented men and women this country has to offer is a humbling experience. To serve with both military and civilian personnel, who on a daily basis strive to uphold the Air Force's core values, challenges me to do the same.
Much has been written about core values. I listed the Air Force core values below describing them in my own words to give them personal meaning.
Integrity: The courage and strength to uphold values and principles regardless of adversity or consequence.
Service before self: A patriotic willingness to put the needs of your country first. A commitment to something bigger than yourself.
Excellence in all we do: An unwavering demand to accept nothing but your very best in all that you do.
These values are demanding and at times almost intimidating. Fortunately, I am surrounded by Team Vance members whose adherence to the Air Force core values is consistently reflected in their actions.
It is has been stated that "Core Values are the price of admission into the Air Force." The environment created by that statement is ultimately why it is an honor and a privilege to be a member of Team Vance and I am truly "Proud to Serve!"