Doing something is one thing, but doing the right thing is everything

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Alexandra Crawley
  • 319th Force Support Squadron
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

This quote from the heroic Martin Luther King Jr. flashed across my mind when a fellow NCO said, "I don't care, and you shouldn't either," when I trying to make a correction on a female airman's hair while she was in uniform.

That comment and many others like it are the reason I decided to sit down and write about losing focus on things that matter. While we are already the world's greatest Air Force, I am a true believer that there is always room for improvement, and that we can continue to make something already awesome even better.

In order to succeed, we must stay close to what the Air Force was built upon -- our Core Values. These words are not just something we memorize in order to get through basic training. They are words we need to carry with us when continuing through not only our careers, but life as well.

I know what you're thinking. "What is she talking about, and who does this staff sergeant think she is?" Allow me to explain; for a little over five years now, I have watched minor details get passed by that I personally felt can and will make a big impact later in life. I have seen many backs turn, and even more shoulders shrug in disregard.

For example, I was assisting with PT tests and one of the physical training leaders was stopping members when they reached "max points" on each section of the test. Most members didn't mind, and some made it clear that they did not want to do more than they had to. When the time finally came for my own PT test I told my PTL not to stop me because I had a goal. She literally looked at me like I had a contagious disease. I couldn't help but wonder, why? What is so wrong with attaining that extra push up or sit up? Yes, I know it doesn't give you more points, but since when did we become an Air Force that doesn't do that little extra in order to improve? If you know you can do more, but you stop, is that really excellence in all you do?

Don't get me wrong, I have also come across some outstanding acts in my short career which have set the example for me entirely. One particular story was during my first two weeks at my first base. I painfully received a Letter of Reprimand from my squadron commander. You think I am crazy, and that's fine, but that LOR helped me more than anyone can understand. He could have cut me some slack, but he didn't.

Sometimes it takes doing the unpopular thing in order to make an impact. From that moment on, I made every attempt to prove to this man that I wasn't a lost cause and I had what it took to be a part of his team. Come to find out, he saw those qualities in me already; it was just obvious to him that I didn't see them in myself. Now, I could sit here and tell you my sad story and explain why I felt the need to mess up and rebel, but I will save you from the excuses.

Simply put, I messed up and my commander was right there to tell me I had. As an Air Force family, that's what we need to do for each other. Telling one another what needs to be heard whether we want to hear it or not. That is what matters and we cannot continue to overlook small details because eventually it will turn into something bigger and we won't be able to fix it.

So my challenge for everyone is to be that person that makes every moment count by showing your integrity for the Air Force. Enforce standards, set standards and become a role model for your fellow Airmen. Get out there and run that extra mile, conduct a little more training, and don't just settle for a passing score; study for perfection! Don't do it to get something out of it either. Do it because it is the right thing and because you want to continue to prove why we are the world's best Air Force.