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How important is your Air Force Career?

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- We've heard lots of talk lately about downsizing, of having to do more with less.

We've seen Reduction in Force efforts like the DOS Rollback and Early Retirement options. What was once pretty much a guaranteed 20 year career isn't any longer. Which begs the big question, "How do I keep my career?"

As a First Sergeant, I have seen many things, or so called crimes, that can put any Airman's (and I say that with a capitol A) career in danger. The most common however, of which I will explain, have been PT failures, "Multiple Minor Disciplinary Infractions" and DUIs.

The culture of the Air Force has changed, and being physically fit is at the forefront. You can be the hardest worker or the sharpest Airmen in the squadron, but if you continually fail your PT test... you will have a short-lived AF career.

"Multiple Minor Disciplinary Infractions" can be anything from failing to show up to duty on time to failing to keep your dorm room clean. These Airmen typically have a dozen LOCs and LORs from their supervisors and flight chiefs. You tell them over and over what the standard is, and they choose not to meet it.

And finally...DUI's. We hear "Don't Drink and Drive" in our safety briefings every week, and yet they are on the rise. DUI IS A CRIME! It is a crime that will not be tolerated. DUIs can result in Article 15's, Demotions, Unfavorable Information Files (UIFs) and Control Rosters.

So, if you see someone on this path, pull them aside. Talk to them. Help them!

Every member of the Air Force is valuable. Maybe there is a deeper issue and they just need someone to guide them through.

If your subordinate is having PT issues, don't wait until they are at their third failure and facing administrative action. Help them now. If you can't help them yourself, send them to the HAWC, enlist a PTL, do something! And whatever you do, do not let anyone drink and drive!

The Air Force calls this being a good Wingman.

I call it caring.