Joint Base Charleston


The good, bad consequences of my decisions

By Lt. Col. Frances Dorish | 628th Security Forces Squadron | May 22, 2013

JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. -- This past week we celebrated National Police Week. Although there were many events that were educational and fun, there were also solemn ceremonies where we remembered the law enforcement officers, civilian and military, who made the ultimate sacrifice. It was a week of reflection for me and the many choices I have made throughout my career. It got me thinking about both the good and the bad, the consequences of those decisions and how I handled each.

As with most people, the majority of my decisions have had logical and predictable results. But there have been some outcomes that were totally unexpected and cause for great consternation. Looking back, I find that the struggles created by the unforeseen have led to the most satisfying experiences of my life. They have not by any means been easy and a few of them I still grapple with. As I try to put these difficulties into perspective, I see Airmen, Sailors and civilians across the Joint Base dealing with issues that put mine to shame. I am constantly amazed at the issues facing our young men and women today and the manner in which they deal with them. Some of the choices and problems they have to face, I have never had to deal with ... social media and technology has brought about many of them.

Oftentimes, we talk about generation gaps and how different each generation is. While the differences are more noticeable, there are a lot of similarities too. We all have challenges we'd rather not have to face but we manage to reach into ourselves and come up with a way to move ahead. Each generation handles their problems in their own way, and although we may not agree with how each other deals with their problems, we each still manage to get a satisfactory result, or at least one that works for us. Yes, there are those who like to bury their heads in the sand and pretend that if they do not acknowledge there is an issue it will go away. However, the vast majority do face their troubles.

As a commander, I sometimes become a bit jaded as I spend a lot of my time with those who refuse to acknowledge they need to make a decision or those who refuse to own their decision. It is at these times I have to take a step back and see what truly remarkable individuals we have working to defend our nation. While their methods are not mine, neither are the issues they must confront. Some need a little guidance to find their way and that's ok. We all need help now and then. Others dig in and drive forward, intent on overcoming whatever adversity they are facing. And there are those in between.

Regardless of the approach, today's issues can get a lot more complex than those I faced coming up. While the root issues are usually the same, the way they present themselves bring complications and unique challenges that we as leaders need to acknowledge. Like our law enforcement brethren across the country who are called to make sacrifices, so are the men and women of today's military. And while we may question some of their decision making processes, they did ultimately make the decision to serve their country. And in that, we are all alike.

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