Tag Archives: opportunity

Keys to Success

by CMSAF James A. Roy
Exclusive for Air Force Live

Over the last three and a half years, many Airmen have asked me for tips to success in the Air Force. As I prepared for retirement, I compiled a list of a few things I think Airmen can do to achieve success.

1. Be great at what you do.
A young Airman’s most important task is to become proficient in his or her primary duty. Work toward being an expert in your field. You have to know your job inside and out to know how it could be done better. As we trade size for quality in our Air Force, we will need innovative subject matter experts more than ever.

2. Take advantage of as many opportunities as you can.
Get outside your comfort zone and learn something new every chance you get. Approach every opportunity with an open mind, and trust the senior NCOs and officers who may see things in you that you don’t see. Apply for special duties, volunteer for leadership roles and seek education opportunities.

3. Be a bold leader.
Define success for the Airmen you supervise. Provide the resources they need and hold them accountable for achieving it. Deliver the required, appropriate feedback, and listen closely to your Airmen when they talk. What do they want? What do they need? How can you help? Tactfully and respectfully stand up for what’s right.

Hard to believe these simple things are the keys to success? It’s true. In the future, our Air Force will rely even more on Airmen to be great at what they do, to take on new challenges, and to accept increased leadership responsibilities.

I know you are up to the challenge.

Thank you for your service.


CMSAF James A. Roy
16th Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force


 By Senior Airman Ulla Stromberg
99th Inpatient Operations Squadron aerospace medical technician

Being from Manhattan, Kan., an individual isn’t exposed to too terribly much. Cuisine was only as worldly as the Chinese/American buffet and entertainment rested in a dive bar or bowling alley. The one thing about this community, however, was the people. Being home to the students of Kansas State University and a great many of our soldiers from Fort Riley, the majority of the population’s faces were constantly changing. Human interaction and the life experiences heard from those soldiers and students broadened our worldly horizons.

Senior Airman StrombergAs I grew older, I was more informed and cognizant of the purpose of the military member. I loved hearing their stories and began to notice how those realities behind the tale developed their admirable character. I would watch those uniformed men and women at the local grocery store who always maintained an unwavering sense of purpose and seemed slightly more considerate of their loved ones who were with them. My eyes were opened when I realized this consideration came from the thought that the moment I had observed may have been due to this family seeing each other for one of the first or last times in the midst of a seemingly endless deployment season. I admired their sacrifice, their selflessness. To me, the uniform stood for a great many things. I hadn’t the foggiest idea what in the world occupational badges or rank insignias stood for. I just knew as an outsider looking in that the uniform stood for sacrifice. Sacrifice brought discipline and discipline brought pride and purpose. I enlisted in the United States Air Force at the earliest opportunity.

Because we are human, it is easy to fall into routine, to become complacent. However, one must always remember how they felt upon graduation from basic military training (BMT) when they received their Airman’s Coin. BMT pushes you, it brings you to hell and back but what emerges is a polished and refined individual who now sees the color of the flag in a brighter shade of red, white and blue. My advice is to always remember that moment, that character transition, and to remember that “The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty loving people everywhere march with you.” You traded a day of your life to come into work and put on that uniform. Make it count. If you remember these things, with the aid of your wingmen and leadership, ANYTHING is attainable.

Quote by General Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1944, D-Day.

Photo:U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Ulla Stromberg, a 99th Inpatient Operations Squadron aerospace medical technician, takes the blood pressure of Airman 1st Class Matthew Lancaster, a 99th Air Base Wing photographer, April 4, 2011, at Mike O’Callaghan Federal Hospital at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Stromberg was recently named one of the Air Forces’ 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year. The Outstanding Airman of the Year Ribbon is awarded to 12 enlisted Airmen who display superior leadership, job performance, community involvement and personal achievements throughout the year. Air Force Association officials will honor the 12 recipients September 2011 during the Air and Space Conference and Technology Exposition in Washington, D.C. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Stephanie Rubi)

Take advantage of opportunities when they arise

For the past few months we’ve been bringing you the weekly Dispatch from Ali Base, written by Master Sgt. Russell P. Petcoff. MSgt Petcoff used to work in the same office as AFPAA Emerging Technology and I had asked him prior to deploying if he’d be willing to send some blog posts while he’s in Iraq. We’re very grateful for the stories and photos and links that he sends on a weekly basis. MSgt Petcoff really took advantage of an opportunity to try something new in the media world. Below is a commentary he wrote about making the most of your time, regardless of where you are. Just as blogging and social media are new realms for the military, drumming has become a new opportunity for MSgt Petcoff. Yes, drumming. Moral of the story? Take a chance, try something new, and don’t pass up the opportunities that present themselves to you. Again, a big thanks to MSgt Petcoff for sharing with us.

Take advantage of opportunities when they arise
By Master Sgt. Russell P. Petcoff
Public Affairs

“Don’t count the days, make the days count.”

We’ve all heard these words at some point in our deployment to Ali Base. For some Airmen, they take it to heart. For others, it goes through one ear and out the other.

This is not a commentary designed to make the days count. It’s up to you to approach each day as you see fit. What’s important is doing your job every day.

But what about the time you aren’t at work? Are you at least taking advantage of unexpected opportunities? There are countless ways Airmen can contribute to life at Ali Base or improve their lives. It’s up to you to take advantage of the opportunities here to make the deployments memorable and fulfilling.

Some opportunities are unexpected, as I recently found out. Since about mid-February, I’ve been a member of the praise and worship band for the 11 o’clock Protestant service. I started out singing back-up vocals.

One Wednesday evening before practice, I noticed a set of neglected conga drums in the back of the chapel. During a “jam session,” I played them. That opened up an opportunity to play them in the band during service. I’d never had any drumming experience, but an opportunity came open, and I took advantage of it. I ended up providing a needed element to the praise band.

Recently, the band lost four members due to their redeployment. One of the departing members was our drummer. Another opportunity came open. Without any experience playing a drum set, I sat behind the kit at the next practice. Despite an initial skepticism of my ability – and probably some similar reservations by the band leader – I began drumming. Two weeks later, I’m still behind them.  People have come up to me that first Sunday saying they didn’t know I played the drums. “I don’t,” I said. “This is the first time.”

Now, I’m the first to say I’m no Charlie Watts (Rolling Stones), Stewart Copeland (The Police) or David Carr (Third Day), and probably will never be. I’m having fun, though. Playing the drums is a perfect outlet for someone who’s fidgety and likes to make rhythmic noise.

An opportunity became available to me while deployed, and I took advantage of it. Playing the drums has helped make my time at Ali Base enjoyable. It’s also given me what may turn out to be a life-long hobby…hope my wife understands.