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NEWS | May 8, 2015

This is my Air Force

By Chief Master Sgt. Shawn Hughes 437th Airlift Wing command chief

This is my Air Force. This is my base. This is my wing. This is my duty section. This is my work area. This is my profession. These are my tools that I use to perfect my profession in my work area of my duty section in my wing on my base for my Air Force. I am responsible for more than just the tools of my trade and the perfection of my craft. I am responsible for my attitude, my behavior and my performance. I am also responsible for my subordinates, my peers and my superiors. 

It took me a long time to take ownership. I fought against it. I didn't want to own it. I wanted to be able to blame others and not take responsibility. I wanted it to be somebody else's problem. I liked life in the critic's seat. I had a bird's eye view of all the action from the peanut gallery. I did not want to be in the arena covered in sweat and dust and blood. Then, I grew up.

The change was hard, but then again, nobody said owning the Air Force was going to be easy. Truth is, it's not supposed to be easy. Nothing worthwhile in life is easy. Scott Alexander once wrote, "All good is hard. All evil is easy. Dying, losing, cheating, and mediocrity are easy. Stay away from easy." Anyone who tells you it is easy is either lying or not giving it their best. Taking ownership means taking on the toughest jobs, operating outside comfort zones, pushing limits, doing your absolute best, picking up the slack, leaving everything better than you found it and treating others the way you would like to be treated. It involves making tough decisions and having difficult conversations. Taking ownership is about taking responsibility and apologizing when something or someone fails. Seeking out problems and being part of the solutions rather than seeking out someone to blame. Stopping and picking up trash or cleaning up a mess rather than pretending not to see it. It also means lending a helping hand when someone is in need rather than being too busy or turning a blind eye. Taking ownership is an "all in" proposition and it is not easy. 

Since taking ownership of the Air Force, life has gotten less complicated. All the gray areas have disappeared because there is only one option ... make a difference every single day.

This is my Air Force. It may not be perfect but it is mine. This is my profession and I proudly wear my Air Force sweatshirt on the weekends. I am an Airman until the day I die.