What Have You Done For Your Country Today?
(June 28, 2010)
|Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. (6/25/2010 - AFNS) --
Sitting in my spare bedroom Tuesday morning, I was looking
at a career laid out before my eyes. I saw awards dating
back to my days as an airman and goodbye gifts from many of
my bases. |
I started to reflect on the role models I've had and one
name stuck out. Chief Master Sgt. Tim Omdal was the security
forces manager at Aviano Air Base, Italy, when I was the
plans and programs NCO. I learned a great many things about
life and the military through the chief and his family.
Often, a lesson was initiated by one simple question, "Jim,
what have you done for your country today?"
In its context, many might interpret the question as, "What
have you done to earn your paycheck today?" Perhaps the
question was his way of asking "Summarize what you did in
the office" or "Did you give the boss your best effort?"
In my early days with Chief Omdal, that's how I answered the
question. I only thought about it as it related to my
primary duties. Though I was proud of my response, his
expression always seemed as if I was missing something. To
this day, I am not sure if it was intentional, but I learned
to take a deeper look at the question.
As I grew in my career, I started thinking about my
responses and how they related to other aspects of my job. I
may have been a pretty good plans NCO, but what kind of
supervisor was I? Did I do anything to help mentor a future
leader? Did I leave my organization and base a better place?
Did I foster esprit-de-corps through a private organization,
making new friends and being a better NCO along the way?
Sometimes we get hung so up on our jobs that we forget the
bigger picture. Our responsibilities go beyond the task at
hand to one of mentorship and leadership. Are we setting the
right examples and truly training our replacements? As an
NCO or officer, have you gone beyond the role of your
primary duty to be a Chief Omdal to someone? Are you
listening to his or her response and encouraging them to
look beyond the obvious?
I challenge you to ponder this question from another
direction. What have you done for your community today? When
you think about your country, think about your community.
What are you doing to make it a better place?
Why was I sitting in my spare room, looking at memorabilia
and thinking about my mentors? After eight bases in 25
years; a career as a security forces member, inspector
general and first sergeant, I must face reality and see that
time is winding down. As I sat on that lonely chair, the
words of Chief Omdal rang in my head, "Jim, what have you
done for your country?"
My answer is this: Chief, over a drink I hope to fill you
in. I don't believe you will be disappointed in my answer.
By USAF Sr. MSgt. Jim Albini|
314th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
Air Force News
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