What's your legacy?

  • Published
  • By Maj. Dale Williquette
  • 22nd Maintenance Squadron

As members of the U.S. Air Force we take pride in our heritage. Names like LeMay, Mitchell, Doolittle and Arnold remind us of prior world war leaders who stood up for what they believed in. They systematically executed the mission in an era that could not accept failure. Their skills were learned through training and by example set by their supervisors and mentors. Throughout the nation we honor their legacy by naming streets and bases after them or putting their personal memorabilia on display in museums. While there may only be a handful of Air Force members entitled for this honor we all have a personal legacy to leave behind.

To begin, you must first ask yourself, what do I want to pass on to others? Some of you may think that because you are an airman basic or 2nd lieutenant that you don't have anything to offer. Well, I would say you are wrong.  William Shakespeare said, "No legacy is so rich as honesty." If we are not honest then what are we? Whether you are guarding the gate, counting money in the vault, preparing meals or fixing aircraft your honesty is critical every day. Your co-workers need to know they can trust you all the time, every time.

Second, how do you perform at your job? Patrick Swayze said, "My work...is my legacy." Are you giving 80 to 100 percent? Are you completing your Career Development Courses on schedule or are you playing video games and texting with your friends after work?  Are you watching the clock and saving "it" for tomorrow or are you getting it done and turning it in ahead of schedule? Your work is a reflection of you and an example to others.  What message are you sending?

Finally, are you taking pride in yourself and in others?  Many of you have achieved great things such as awards, promotions and special duty schools or assignments in your past.  Have you mentored others to do the same?  Are you keeping up with your fitness and ready to get another 90 or do you procrastinate until the last minute thinking, "I'm young enough.I got a 91 last time so I'm not worried."  Are you taking pride in your uniform wear, that no matter what the occasion your uniform is always ready?   

Your legacy does not have to be an extravagant and profound speech or doctrinal change in Air Force tactics and procedures in order to make a lasting difference.  The type of legacy you leave behind is your choice...so leave a good one.