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Be a Champion

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Champions want the rock. Whether it is the last play, shot, penalty kick, or at bat, champions want the opportunity to step up and get the win for the team. For champions, every such opportunity is where the crossroads of drive, intelligence and passion come together for success. On the rare occasion when they do not succeed, champions will come back again and again until they are successful. Champions are opportunistic.

Our enlisted force is arguably the most driven, intelligent and talented group in the history of the Air Force. Retention is high, the force is more educated than ever before, and the creative solutions we have all seen our fellow Airmen come up with never cease to amaze. This is particularly impressive given our low manning and the unmitigated disaster that is our annual operations and maintenance budget. The Air Force is full of "champions."

This championship culture certainly manifested itself in the way most Airmen embraced the new enlisted evaluation system. Despite some trepidation regarding sweeping changes, most recognize the new system as a great opportunity to succeed. Rather than sit back and say "there goes my five" or "only the brown noses will get promoted now," they are embracing the new system as an opportunity to take the rock to the house. Airmen understand that the new process allows them to step up and take control of their careers by earning their way into the top 10 percent and the coveted promotion recommendations that go with it through peak performance in their primary duties. They also understand the focus is on the mission and mission success, not personal accolades or "MVP" honors; those will follow mission success. Most of all, these true Air Force champions know that it is a team effort. Anyone who has been to PME knows that the students who distinguish themselves as leaders are the ones who forget about themselves and focus on bringing the team up to a higher level. The same is true of the new evaluation system -- champions who perform for the team and the mission will be recognized.

If you are one of the few who are still concerned about the new evaluation system, relax. You have the drive, intelligence and talent to step up. You have the ability to succeed and be an integral part of this championship team that is the United States Air Force. While I am not a Notre Dame fan, their motto applies here: "Be a champion today." Personally, I am really excited about the future of our Air Force. Every day I look around and wonder which Airman might be the next Billy Mitchell or Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force. The future is bright, and I have no doubt we will rise up to face our nation's toughest challenges. Step up to the line, seize every opportunity and be a champion.