Pride, professionalism, passion guide mission

  • Published
  • By Maj. Douglas Shahan
  • 39th Communications Squadron commander
What do you do at Incirlik? You might reply, "I work in the maintenance squadron" or "I work at the Child Development Center." Perhaps you might answer with a short description of the type of work you do: "I ensure our personnel are deployment-ready by providing immunizations;" or "I perform flightline security for high-priority assets."

While all these answers are accurate, I would argue this is just one small part of what we actually accomplish.

From a strategic perspective, we perform both a military and diplomatic mission. Performing that duty with pride, professionalism and passion is critical to our success.

Turkey is in an incredibly important location from a strategic perspective. Our geographical proximity to some of the world's "hot-spots" has a deterring effect that increases regional stability and reduces the threat of conflict between nations. Additionally, according to the most recent 728th Air Mobility Squadron brief, Incirlik's aerial port is the busiest air freight terminal, accounting for 20 percent of Air Mobility Command's daily movement.

From a diplomatic perspective, cooperation with our Turkish hosts reflects the United States' resolve to support a democratic partner with shared security interests. Our presence in Turkey shows our nation's support and the Turkish people are gracious enough to welcome us as guests where we perform our shared military mission. As guests, we have a responsibility to be respectful of our hosts' hospitality. If one person fails in that responsibility, it reflects poorly on everyone else.

As the U.S. learned after the dishonorable actions at Abu Ghraib prison in 2004, some tactical acts have strategic consequences. The criminal behavior of 12 soldiers at Abu Ghraib sent shockwaves throughout the world that still reverberate today. Do you think anyone remembers the 1,200 soldiers who served with distinction at Abu Ghraib? Let this be a reminder that both on- and off- duty behavior can have strategic effects. This is where our pride, professionalism and passion come in.

I encourage all to take pride in our critical military and diplomatic missions. Few people have the opportunity to represent their nation as honorably or vitally.

Perform the mission with the utmost professionalism, hold everyone accountable and set high standards for yourself and your workcenter. Focus on the basics and remember standards are set through actions and inactions. If you walk past a problem and don't fix it, you just created a lower standard.

Passion for what we do is critical. Never be satisfied with the status quo. Constantly strive to improve and be the expert everyone else looks to as the "go-to" person. Seek educational opportunities and share your knowledge and expertise with peers and subordinates.

So the next time someone asks you what you do, remember the bigger picture. Remember the Air Force has confidence in your ability to perform your mission with pride, professionalism and passion!