Don't sit still with your military careers

  • Published
  • By CMSgt. Michael Thorpe
  • 439th AW Command Chief
Happy New Year!

Two-thousand twelve is upon us. I hope you have taken the opportunity to spend quality time with friends and family over the holiday season.

Since becoming the command chief last spring, one thing that has amazed me is the quality of the Airmen we have in our wing. You're motivated, and possess the self-initiative to
achieve great success. No matter the circumstances, you lean forward and give your best. I've been asked repeatedly by Airmen and NCOs, how do I get promoted? After asking if they have finished their PME and skilllevel training, my next question is what separates you from your peers? Have you completed your CCAF degree? Have you asked your supervisor how you can pull ahead of your peers? Mentoring is a key to success. That's what supervisors should be doing continuously, more than once every two years.

Your leadership should be putting you on track for success. Look for avenues that will bring out your leadership qualities such as joining the Rising Six, Top Three,
and HRDC. Look to get involved in your community. You're all ambassadors of the Air Force Reserve. When you do something special, make sure your supervisors are aware of
it. Your supervisor may see you two days a month. Make sure they note what you do the other 28 days. Now, you're saying to yourself, "I'm in a line position with no upward mobility," or "I have a full- time job, spouse and children, I don't have the time to volunteer."

There's the old saying, "If there's a will, there's a way." First, you never know when opportunity is going to happen. Remember, your career is a marathon. Your leadership should be looking at the totality of your career, not the past two years when you tried to sprint over the finish line because a master sergeant position opened up. Two quotes that are "red flags" for me when promotions become available:

"He/she is a great person."
"He/she has been here a long time."

A promotion is not a lifetime achievement award. It is a culmination of your successes as an Airman, and how well you have trained your subordinates in becoming future leaders in this wing. It is an opportunity for you to bring your squadron and this wing to the next level of success.

Don't rest on your laurels when talking about the "good old days" when you were awarded a Cold War certificate from Secretary of Defense (William) Cohen that hangs in your cubicle. Self-improve, and look to improve your Airmen around you. We soon enter the next deployment tempo band. Please ensure you have your personal and professional affairs in order. Don't hesitate to visit the Airmen and Family Readiness Center staff; they are there to support you -- and your families.

Thank you for your service.