SFS commander: Passion makes difference for successful unit

  • Published
  • By Maj Mary McCaghren
  • 71st Security Forces Squadron
"None but men of strong passions are capable of rising up to greatness."
Honore Gabriel Riqueti
Comte de Mirabeau
What's the difference in a unit that succeeds at everything and one that performs at a mediocre level?
After coming to my 10th unit of assignment, I would have to say it has everything to do with passion. Are you passionate about what you do? A lot of people would say it's attitude ... but being passionate is a form of attitude. Good attitudes can get you a lot of places in this world, but being passionate about what you do is like wearing your heart on your sleeve; everyone can see it.
I went to the annual awards banquet this weekend and the one thing in common with everyone nominated as winners was their passion for their profession. You looked around, saw them beaming with pride in what they did, and it was obvious they did it well. They all had fantastic attitudes ... but that little extra making them winners was the passion.
Now, I'm a little bias when it comes to squadrons and I like to think mine is the best. I think that because of the passion people bring with them every day to work. They may be standing on the gate in the negative degree wind chill, but their passion to do their job well and serve their country shines through. It doesn't matter if its an actual security forces member, an Army National Guardsman or a READY augmenter detailed for a couple of weeks. They are all the same. Whether they particularly enjoy the job or not, they bring a passion for excellence like none I have seen in the last twenty years. For that I am truly grateful.
Now, how do you make these young people so passionate to do a job? I will tell you, at least in my squadron, it's the front line supervisors. The staff and technical sergeants getting the young airmen directly from training are responsible. They take these young professionals and not only demand the standards they were taught in training, but they also demand much more of them. They teach and influence them to give 100 percent every day they come to work. The result is a passion that shines.
Our NCO corps is the backbone of the Air Force and though we don't hear it as much as we used to, it is true. They are directly responsible for the continuing professionalism we see in our young folks. They take them and mold them into professionals. But what is different here than anywhere else I've been is the uncanny ability to instill passion. They make it pleasant to come to work; dare I say even fun! Supervisors who can create a culture like that are gems. They keep taking the diamonds in the rough and polishing them until they shine. They continue the legacy of their forefathers by producing the finest to sustain the greatest airpower on the face of the earth.
So this week, my hat is off to the NCO corps, not only all across Vance, but especially in my squadron. You make my job easy by instilling passion like I have never seen before. You are what being an NCO is all about. Thank you!
And my favorite leadership quote for closure this week is from John Maxwell.
"To measure a leader, put a tape around his heart, not his head." That is where you get passion!
Finally, I would like to send a hearty Ho-Aah to my folks over in one of those "Stans." Keep doing well, represent us superbly as you always have, and we are looking forward to your safe return home. To all my Defenders ... what a superb group of professionals to be privileged to lead. You are what makes our Air Force great!