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Game-winning gala awaits

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Jonathan Wilkins
  • 379th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
Have you found yourself wondering why we're here in the middle of the desert? This is where the big away game is happening and each of us is on the starting lineup. All the "summer training camps" we've been through were designed to prepare us for this moment. Those camps include basic training, technical school, field training, officer training school, undergraduate pilot training, upgrade training, proficiency training, training exercises and Operational Readiness Inspections. We're at war, and we were sent here because the roster called for our particular skill set. A lot of time and effort was spent in the force planning phase and it's no accident that we're all here. We each play a vital role in winning this war, whether we're on the offensive line, the defensive line or the one of many special teams. Many games were won or lost due to special teams, so don't think that your job isn't important because you don't pull the trigger on an M-16 or press the button that releases the munitions from the bomb bay.

We know why we're here and we know what our role is on the team. Why is it some team members forget, or neglect, what they learned back in camp? This is not the time to relax standards or give less than 100 percent; this is go-time. We will return to our homes, families and friends when relieved by the next set of players. In the meantime, we need to maintain focus and vigilance. We must perform our mission according to the rules and procedures we learned in camp; otherwise, we could lose some battles and possibly the war. We need to encourage our teammates, especially those who have never played an away-game, and correct each other when necessary.

If we can accept our position on the team and commit to fulfilling our respective roles, nothing can stop us from moving the ball down the field. Attitude is everything and, good or bad, it's contagious. Be proud of your role on the team. Whether you're a food server or a crew chief, be the best food server or crew chief on the team. Maintain a positive attitude, refrain from complaining and you'll make a bigger contribution to the team. Forty years from now you'll proudly tell your grandkids about the role you played on the greatest team in history. You might even find yourself recounting your plays with other veterans around a folding table in a Veterans of Foreign Wars post back in your hometown. I have yet to find a veteran who couldn't proudly tell me about the role they played on a team.

The bottom line is this: you are valued, you were handpicked to be on this team, your role is vital to mission accomplishment and you should be proud of it. Maintain focus, vigilance and a positive attitude and encourage your teammates to do the same. Before we know it, we'll be back in town at the game-winning celebration and our proud fans will be there to welcome us home.