Education and the Air Force lifestyle

GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- I had the fortunate opportunity to be selected for the University of Tennessee Strategic Leadership Program and have learned advanced leadership skills among some of the finest leaders in our Air Force. I was talking to a group of Airmen recently about the program and my experience, and a comment was made about my enthusiasm for learning. One person said, “You just like to go to school.” I won’t deny I am a lifelong learner, and I attribute my love of learning to our Air Force lifestyle that values investment in our biggest asset – PEOPLE.

The “Air Force lifestyle” is a culture of excellence in all we do. (Sounds familiar!) Our Air Force provides opportunities for having an enviable lifestyle that encompasses not only job satisfaction related to our global mission, but also the camaraderie, benefits and ability on and off duty to live a life that others want to emulate. I’ve been affiliated with the finest Air Force in the world most of my life; active duty, Department of Defense contractor, and government civilian. I’ve made the Air Force my career because of my commitment to our mission and the impact I can make on our Airmen and their families. But it’s also the Air Force lifestyle; the belonging to something bigger and better than most will ever experience in their lives. There’s nothing else like it in the world.

This leads into my love for the abundant training and education opportunities available as part of the Air Force lifestyle. Our 319th FSS Force Development Flight offers a wide variety of off-duty and professional military education opportunities – you just need to get your foot in the door. Sometimes the prospect of just walking in the door can be daunting, especially to someone who doesn’t have my same enthusiasm for education. There is confidence in numbers, and I challenge you to go to the education center with someone else; a supervisor, friend or coworker. The education center staff members are there solely for you. Your effort may also positively impact someone else.

Years ago, I was that single Airman who lived in the dorms and made that step in cementing that Air Force lifestyle. I am a product of our Air Force training programs and the GI Bill! My achievements to date would not have been possible without that first step of walking into the education center and learning what was there for me. I am thankful I am part of the greatest Air Force in the world, and I’ve had the opportunities to learn and grow personally and professionally thanks to our culture of excellence in education and training. I’m still learning and look forward to the opportunities that await me down the road. But what I look forward to more is hearing about the successes of our One Grand Forks Air Force Base Airmen and how they have embraced our Air Force lifestyle and become better for themselves and their country by taking that first step in their future.