What's my motivation?

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Antonio Kitt
  • 22nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron superintendent
My motivation began with life lessons from my grandmother, neighborhood elders, elementary and high school educators and my local church family.

My second phase of motivation began in basic training with my military training instructors, Staff Sergeants Garza and Mondella, Chief Master Sgt. Jerry Halfhill, Col. P.K. Robinson (POW), Tech. Sgt. Harold Reedy, my wife, Tawnya and children, Aisha, Tonia and Antonio II, Chief Master Sergeants Kathy Sconyer, Antony Persons, Anthony Bishop and former Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Murray.

This list is not exhaustive, yet these are a few of the individuals who have had a noticeable impact on my life's journey. Yet, whether mentioned or not, there was and is a common message woven between my motivators: values.

Herein lies certain bedrock principles or core values that carry us from day to. During my recent deployment to Iraq I became very familiar with the Soldier's core values: personal courage, integrity, honor, selfless service, respect, duty and loyalty. From my vantage point, my comrades lived them out daily.

We, too, have core values: Integrity First, Service Before Self and Excellence In All We Do. These words are written in "The Little Blue Book" and quoted daily, but what do they represent to you? Referring back to my recent deployment again, I witnessed EOD Airmen live our core values out daily as they were embedded with Soldiers. As I shared time with these young American heroes, one of whom I know personally, I asked them a couple of questions. Do you like your jobs and what's your motivation? They all responded with sincerity in their eyes "I love my job," and "it is the right thing to do." What's your motivation?

The Explosive Ordinance Disposal Airmen's responses caused me to revisit the foundation of my motivation. For example, my grandmother briefed me not to lie, cheat or steal (Chief Halfhill reinforced this); same as integrity first. My grandmother strongly encouraged me to help others without expecting something in return (SSgt Garza and SSgt Mondella reinforced self-sacrifice); same as service before self. My grandmother also informed me that if I were to become a street sweeper, be the best there is (Col P.K. Robinson and Chief Kathy Sconyer reinforced being the best); same as excellence in all we do. Their replies also reminded me of AFR 30-1, Air Force Standards, dated 4 May 1983. Even though this regulation (my first "little blue book") is rescinded, the words, thoughts and visions are elements of our core values.

Our core values are personable yet professional, selfless not selfish and challenging yet humble. We in the Air Force are a diverse group of people, yet we are united by our core values.

The core values are more than mere standards; they are words that mentor, encourage and coach us not only as active duty members, but as humans. They are topics of our daily lives to be discussed with family and friends. They are practical to life's routine situations. Our core values usher in a tradition of honor and a legacy of valor. Our core values encourage us to neither falter nor fail.

We continue to fly, fight and win because we as a team have abiding faith in our core values. We sincerely continue to do what we do as Americans and Armed Forces members by integrating our core values into the sum value of service to our nation. So, when we ask ourselves what is the right thing to do, remember courage, honesty, responsibility, accountability, justice, openness, self respect, humility, rule following, respect for others, discipline and self control, faith in the system, service excellence, personal excellence, community excellence, resource excellence and operational excellence--these are the ingredients of our core values.

Our core values promote admirable traits allowing us to answer our nation's call and elevate our military image above reproach. Our core values transcend mere words and withstand the tests of time for they are embodied by each and every one of us. Our core values are alive, practical, resilient and bigger than any one individual. So, when I ask myself, what's my motivation? Today, it's you.