Never underestimate your impact

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey -- Every day I visit our great Airmen and every day I come across more than one that underestimates their impact to the mission.

There's the one-stripe maintainer, "just repaneling an aircraft," for the next day's flight, or the young personalist, "just issuing another identification card," or the defender, "just guarding the gate." The list could go on and on. Hopefully we all realize the significance of each task in the preceding example. My experiences have demonstrated to me that time after time we do not.

So what's the big deal? I do just repanel aircraft right? And I really do just issue ID cards. And hey, I've been pulling guard duty for two years. This really is all I do. Are you going to trap me in a 30-minute mentoring session to try and convince me my simple tasks really mean more? Why yes I am.

Each day, every one of us has the potential to contribute to airpower, the defense of our great nation and an unparalleled way of life. Each day, there are a whole lot of other people that would love nothing more than a chance to degrade our airpower, attack our nation and our way of life.

Where does that repaneled aircraft completed on time and mission capable fit into the picture?  And how do valid ID cards, trusted as a first line of cyber and physical security contribute?  What impact could that young defender pulling guard duty at 2 a.m. really make to the base defense?

Fill in a few gaps on the preceding scenarios and the impact each of our Airmen make becomes clear. The aircraft is the only intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance asset within 500 miles and a special forces unit is pinned down and requires immediate support and real-time battle field information. Our ID cards repel millions of cyber-attacks launched against our networks by providing a first line of defense for our mission critical information technology systems because they are produced valid, up to date and therefore trusted. And our defenders; trained, motivated and with steadfast commitment to their posts, keep adversaries off our base, enabling all airpower functions to operate and degrade our adversaries ability to operate in our area of responsibilities.

The next time you come across one of our great Airmen underestimating their impact to the mission, due me a favor; belt out a powerful ",HUA," and take the moment to recognize the Airmen for the specific task they're performing and for its impact to our mission. For all of our great Airmen reading this and not accepting the impact you make each and every day for our great Air Force, I say to you ",HUA!" and Thanks for all you do! Aim High!