Commentary Search

  • Finding your tribe to help light the way

    A friend of mine recently posted about the slight panicked feeling she had when it dawned on her she didn’t really know what to do if her kids came down with the COVID-19 virus while her husband was deployed. Not even two minutes after she posted came the flood of replies from her tribe. Friends and neighbors volunteering to pitch in and help whenever with whatever. With the state of chaos our world is in, it’s easy to find ourselves withdrawing from society and from one another. The physical and social distancing makes it almost alluring. For an introvert like myself (and the rest of my immediate family), we’ve been practicing this since before it became the cool and necessary thing to do. But what happens when we need help? When you run out of flour? When your anxiety climbs to exponential levels? When you’ve withdrawn inside yourself you have a hard time crawling back out? That’s where your tribe comes in.
  • Appreciation for Unsung Heroes

    Have you seen the GIF with two dogs getting a ball out of a pool? One is craning his neck over the side into the pool, fishing the ball out while his partner is holding his tail tightly to keep him from falling in. It’s a good depiction of teamwork and how the one who conquers is only able to do so with the support of a teammate. Teammates come in
  • Psychological Safety in the Workplace

    A few weeks ago our 501st Community Support Coordinator contacted me to ask if I would participate in the March GRIT syllabus. GRIT, in my opinion, has been good for the command and appears to be moving us closer to our declared objective; namely, building resilient airmen. So, I was happy to volunteer for whatever was needed. I learned that the
  • Overcoming Setbacks

    I distinctly remember my high school soccer coach telling the team one afternoon that sports were lessons in life and would not only helps us overcome obstacles on the field, but also off the field. How right he was! Freshman year went well for me. I worked hard, floated between junior varsity and varsity and received more than my fair share of
  • Character Matters

    For Fathers’ Day some years ago, my mother sent me a framed document. As a child, I told her a lie. On November 17, 1982, she made me write a page (a whole page!) on the subject, “Why it is good to be truthful.” That page was in the frame. Of course, I had forgotten about this, but she saved it for when I had children of my own. This now hangs on
  • Heritage and Infrastructure Investment

    Starting with its beginning as Brackley Landing Ground in 1938, Royal Air Force Croughton has been home to generations of Airmen. In the early years, the base was a training site for Commonwealth bomber pilots and later served as the home of No. 1 Glider Training School.   Since 1950, RAF Croughton has been home to the United States Air Force,
  • Talking to your kids about dating and healthy relationships

    RAF CROUGHTON, England -- Technology has transformed how kids grow up. Today’s tech-savvy middle and highschoolers are able to look in places online for information and advice on dating, relationships and sex. Parents may be unaware and/or feel a loss of control. The good news is parents can empower their kids by modeling healthy relationships and starting the conversation by showing they are available – even when the topic is uncomfortable.
  • Job Satisfaction

    Job satisfaction is an elusive beast. It has escaped me many times in my military career, especially in my early years. Prior to my commission, I built computers, installed networks and developed applications for small businesses. It was easy to find my sense of satisfaction. The efforts of my work immediately translated into not only monetary
  • Air Force Medical Reform

    I wanted to take this opportunity to explain the changes that have been made to the Military Health System (MHS) and help decipher the Air Force Medical Service (AFMS) transformation. The passage of the National Defense Authorization Acts (NDAA) for Fiscal Years 2017, 2018, and 2019 directed the largest ever military medicine transformation. Driven by these requirements, as well as Department of Defense (DoD) and Air Force initiatives, the AFMS is undergoing significant transformation to maximize its ability to provide medically-ready forces and ready medical forces in support of operational missions and National Security priorities. Congress has directed the MHS to develop an integrated system of healthcare and readiness by increasing standardization of the benefit, and providing improved readiness support of uniformed personnel. The DoD and the Air Force are driving reforms to facilitate improving readiness and to increase the agility and lethality of the warfighter.
  • Mess Up, Screw Up, or Fudge Up

    Something that I have heard often since I’ve been in the Air Force – and realize I repeat every time I meet a new Defender in the squadron – is that mistakes aren’t punished but crimes are. Failures are the best way to learn the right way to do things, but speaking from a career field that has been accused of “eating its own,” sometimes the distinction is lost (especially if you’re receiving paperwork). How can an individual fail in a “no fail” mission while still learning and moving forward? Rather than try to figure this out on my own, I did what I’ve been raised to do – ask a SNCO. Thankfully, there was an answer from one of my SMSgts who summed it up as, “You succeed, mess up, screw up, or fudge up,” (to paraphrase A Christmas Story, he didn’t say “fudge”). I propose that we change the way we look at failures, and use this framework – “Mess Up, Screw Up, and Fudge Up” – to judge how bad a failure really is.
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