Carrying the Air Force ethos through life

  • Published
  • By U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Brian Beauter, 423rd Communications Squadron commander

As I prepare to close-out my Air Force career, I find myself reflecting on my military service and contemplating what life “in the outside world” will look like.  This reflection has me thinking a great deal about what I enjoy about the Air Force and what aspects of this life I will miss the most.  I imagine the top of my list is similar to most Airmen:  working alongside interesting people from diverse backgrounds, contributing to unique and critical missions, and traveling to new and different locations every few years.  But for me, perhaps the greatest thing I will miss about being an Airmen is the unwavering Air Force ethos to inspire, motivate, and educate. 

I enlisted in the Air Force in 1991 during the height of Operation Desert Storm, a recently divorced college drop-out with limited job prospects.  Shortly following the break-down phase of Basic Training, and as updates from the Gulf War were piped over the loud speaker in my barracks, it became crystal clear to me that I had transformed into a better version of myself.  I was better disciplined, physically fit, eating and sleeping better, and had gained an increased level of confidence.  Although it took hard work on my part, the process was simple:  my Military Training Instructor laid out a road map to success, provided education and training, and inspired me to reach my goals.  The Air Force continued to apply this process over the years with subordinates, peers, and supervisors providing inspiration, motivation, and opportunities for me to do better, to be better – and I thrived on it.

Thirty years after this process began for me and with just over a month left before the sun sets on my career, the Air Force ethos is still positively impacting my life.  From expanding my perspective on diversity and inclusion to honing my communications and leadership skills, Airmen and Guardians continue to inspire, educate, and motivate me.  Suffice it to say, I would not be the same caliber of person I am today had I not been part of this amazing organization.  Perhaps it makes sense then that I find myself feeling grateful for the opportunity to serve and thankful for everything military life has provided me and my family.  I am also left feeling confident that I will carry the Air Force ethos with me to the civilian world and will find ways to positively impact people in my local community.  My wife Sherrie and I are especially thankful to have written the last chapter of our Air Force life here at RAF Alconbury, serving alongside the outstanding men and women of the 423d Communications Squadron and 501st Combat Support Wing.