An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Stay focused, stay motivated, finish strong

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Michael Stanley
  • 451st Expeditionary Operations Group first sergeant
Christmas is upon us, which means the end of the year is just around the corner. As 2010 comes to an end, so do many of our tours here in Afghanistan and no matter how bad you want to stay or regardless of the number of times you go to Personnel Support for Contingency Operations with extension paperwork in hand, there comes a time when we all have to redeploy. If you are fortunate or unfortunate enough to be in that group, depending on your perspective, and as you begin to think about leaving "sunny" Kandahar Airfield, I want to remind you that you haven't left yet.

The thought of finally going home after a four- or six-month deployment and in some cases an even longer deployment can easily become all consuming. I have noticed as I've traveled around KAF and talked to people who will be redeploying soon, that many of them have already "redeployed," at least mentally anyway. We have all seen the countdown calendars and I believe there may be a place for them, but on the morning I wrote this article I spoke to a young Airman who told me how many minutes he had left! When we are counting the minutes of a deployment, I think it's safe to say we've lost our focus.

I certainly don't want to come across as the dream crusher; however, I think it's important that we, on occasion, remind ourselves we are still in a war zone. Many people are counting on you to stay focused, such as your family, wingmen, leadership at every level and, of course, your first sergeant. The individuals replacing many of you in the coming weeks are also expecting you to stay on your "A" game. Your level of motivation will have an immediate impact on your replacement. The success of the transition process will have lasting effects as we move from the winter months to the spring, and this success will be measured against your degree of mission focus. Of course, Al Qaeda and the Taliban are hoping you lose focus; they are counting on you becoming detached mentally and lowering your guard. Don't let it happen and don't let it happen to the Airmen around you!

It is a privilege to serve in the U.S. Air Force. Each of us has an obligation to each other, to the country we serve, and to our "proud heritage," to insure we all stay focused and stay motivated, so that we can finish strong!