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Back To The Basics

PATRICK AFB, Fla. --
My son recently started kindergarten. I worried the entire summer about how he would handle the transition. Would he like his teacher, make new friends and most importantly, would he enjoy school?

All my anxiety was in vain because to date, my son loves his class and is excited about all the new things he experiences on a daily basis.

My hat goes off to teachers like his who are able to inspire such a joy of learning. They have the laudable responsibility of filling those young minds with knowledge and setting the stage for their future development.

In a similar vein, as leaders, we are tasked with shaping the young officers and airmen that join our ranks. Like new students, these Airmen come to us eager to learn and ready to make a difference.

Too often, though, they become tainted due to a lack of mentorship, guidance and nurturing. The challenge then, is to ensure that we are laying the foundation from which new leaders will grow.

I contend that you can do this by simply going back to the basics. How many of you are familiar with the "Little Blue Book" and the "Little Brown Book"? I still have my original (albeit a bit faded) copy of the Air Force Core Values that was given to me when I entered the military.

I also have the Enlisted Force Structure booklet (AFI36-2618) that one of my Senior NCO's shared with me as a young Captain. Those two books provide a road map for professional growth as well as mission success. But, how many times have you discussed the content of those books with your new Airmen?

There's a reason that just about every graduation speech, commander's call, and commentary (mine included) makes some reference to the core values - they are that important. Similarly, since the enlisted corps forms the backbone of our operations, it is essential that we all understand their roles and responsibilities.

Don't over complicate matters, just get back to the basics: do the right thing, put the needs of others above your own, do your best every day, know your job and do it well.
 
Embrace these virtues, teach others to do the same and grow tomorrow's leaders.