Find your purpose to reap your reward

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Robert P. Vicars IV
  • 25th Flying Training Squadron commander
A couple of months ago, I had my first opportunity to attend the pinnacle event that has defined Vance for more than four decades - a student pilot graduation ceremony.

Seeing all of the misty-eyed moms and proud dads beaming at the accomplishments of their young Airmen made me incredibly proud of what I contribute to the occasion.

My role in the 25th Flying Training Squadron requires me to emcee the graduations, so I have since been to quite a few. But, this has made me wonder how much other people on base know about this routine event, and more importantly, if others know how much they contribute to it.

I believe the graduation ceremony is a very important event, because it's our collective purpose, which is something I'd like to expand upon.

First, it helps to think of purpose as motivation for action. Almost all human action has some kind of purpose. Everyone driving down Owen K. Garriott right now has purpose. And even though they are all performing the same action -- driving a car -- they have different purposes for doing so.

Some are going to work, some are getting groceries, and others are test driving cars.
Similarly, I go through the monotonous drill of shaving every weekday because I have to comply with Air Force Instruction 36-2903. But, I continue the monotony on the weekends, because I don't want to have a scratchy face when I wrestle with my three boys, and shaving with an electric razor gets uncomfortable with two days growth.

In short, even though we may perform the exact same action each day, our purpose could vary from day to day. And, the beauty of it is that we get to decide why we take any particular action. You get to choose what your purpose is each day you arrive at your workplace. So what is your purpose?

You, like the Garriott drivers mentioned above, usually have a purpose when you're driving -- to get somewhere.

You have a purpose when you're working out -- to pass the PT test and/or be a healthy person.

If you're active duty, Guard or Reserve, then you had a purpose for joining the Air Force - to serve, to travel, earn an education, increase your opportunities to succeed, etc.
So let me ask, what's your purpose when you go to work each day?

Is it to keep up with email, fix airplanes, maintain the airfield or communications network, or provide customer service at the finance or personnel offices?

I believe that all of these are legitimate reasons for working, but they are incomplete in and of themselves. To add greater benefit to completing your daily task, it helps to know how it ties into the larger task of the Wing.

It isn't always easy to know exactly how your function fits into the bigger picture.

And, it certainly isn't easy to let that be your motivation each day. But, each person who works on Vance contributes in some way to the mission -- either directly by flying or enabling sorties, or indirectly by sustaining the force, the fleet or the facilities.

All of these functions are critically important to making this mission happen, and you execute them daily. And, for that you deserve a pat on the back.

I believe a great "pat on the back" is the graduation ceremony.

We are very fortunate to have a tangible representation of mission accomplishment every three weeks.

You make graduations happen, and you ought to make the time to see what you've accomplished.

I encourage you to be a part of the joyous occasion with the families that travel from across the country.

Accept their joy as a reward for the hard work you've put in. And, then let that be part of your motivation as you accomplish your daily tasks, because graduations are both your purpose and your reward.