Fresno Air National Guard Base, Calif. --
These are five points that I recommend with everyone in the Logistics Readiness Squadron, but they apply to everyone. Each has a short explanation of why it is important to making you stand out from others in your peer group. You will notice the lack of discussion about Leadership, Communication and Professional Military Education. Those are all required, too. In fact, those basic requirements are mandatory to even be considered for promotion, so if you haven’t done your PME, or can’t lead troops, it is not going to happen. Once you master the basics, concentrate on the five points below to distinguish yourself among your peer group.
1. Become a Technical Expert:
Your flight is your home base. It is how you are identified by all other members of the squadron. Whether you are in Operations Compliance, Deployment & Distribution, Materiel Management, Vehicle Management, or Fuels Management you will be viewed by your peers as that type of Logistics Readiness Squadron troop. And the others in your flight will quickly learn how much they can depend on your knowledge and support at critical times. Your reputation as a great vehicle mechanic or a work-under-pressure supply troop or your knowledge of flight line procedures as a POL troop will precede you in all assignments. Are you the best in your flight? When your peers and your superiors know that you are supremely competent in your career field you will stand out among the rest of the pack.
It takes so much more than showing up at 0730 on Saturday and staying until 1600 on Sunday to make the 144th LRS the great squadron that it is. Retirement ceremonies, credible awards packages, Christmas parties, recruiting, deployments – none of these is part of your AFSC job description. Yes, these and many more things are part of what makes a great squadron fly high above the others. Do you have a role in making the LRS a great squadron? Or do you merely put in your time? Volunteering puts you in the category of going “above and beyond” and gives your leadership the impression that you care deeply about the squadron to which you belong.
3. Be Dependable:
UTAs are a busy time. Your leadership team needs members that they can depend upon to take a project from concept to completion. Remember these tips: 1) If you get an assignment, seek your supervisor’s input and guidance to get started, 2) Keep them informed of your progress and 3) ask for feedback once you’re complete. If your supervisor winds up doing the work for you, then you haven’t been dependable. Ask yourself: When given a job, project, or assignment; do I get it done? Or does it fizzle out shortly after I’ve gotten started. As you get higher in the chain of command, it becomes much easier to see who is dependable. If you want to be promoted, your name must be on that list.
Again, this is entry level stuff. You have to be here, in the squadron, on UTAs if you expect to get promoted. At the 144th LRS we do a lot more than just UTAs and annual tours. There are off-UTA leadership opportunities, conferences, nightshift duties, weekend coverage, and schools. Do you participate in these events, too? There are times in a Guard member’s career when he/she will necessarily miss some UTAs. It happens to all of us. However, I am continually surprised by Guard members who miss a majority of UTAs during the year, or seem to be on the “continual reschedule program”, and feel they deserve to be promoted. At the 144th LRS, you are recommended for promotion first by your immediate supervisor, then by a board that is composed of your peers and supervisors. You can’t demonstrate your skills, attitude, military bearing when you are not among your peers and supervisors.
5. Display a Positive Attitude:
It’s not always going to go your way. I promise you will suffer frustrations at times. You may have felt you were a shoe-in for promotion, or thought your medal package was a “done deal”. The experts tell us that the true test of a person is how they act during times of adversity. As the LRS Chief Enlisted Manager (CEM), I have the privilege of being able to work with all of our members, in both good times and bad. Believe me, if you’re always complaining and bad-mouthing the organization, undermining leadership or displaying a bad attitude, you show me and the rest of the leadership team more about yourself than the thing about which you are upset. When you get let down, how do you react?
Concentrating on these five points will help you stand out among your peers. You will be seen as “first among equals”. Doors marked “Opportunity” will start to open in front of you. From there, it’s up to you to walk through them. Best regards and good luck at the next promotion board!