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 and finish strong

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Otis Williams
  • 451st Air Expeditionary Wing chaplain assistant
My time here is short ... even though I may be thinking about going home, seeing family and planning a vacation, I am still in the fight and have to stay focused, finishing strong.

Let's look at it as if I were a long-distance runner. A runner, knowing they have a long way to go, would start off conservative at a slow pace but not so slow that they fall behind. When deployed, one should hit the ground running, but not sprinting; this causes people to burn out. A runner usually finds a rhythm and picks up on others runner tendencies while becoming familiar with the track; now it's time to make moves to be in a position to win.

After getting a lay of the land, knowing where places like lodging, restroom and bathrooms, dining facilities, gyms and units within the wing are, you're ready to get the ball rolling, so to speak. Now the runner has been competing for a while now, breathing hard, sweating and maybe even developed some bumps and bruises depending on the level of completion. In a deployed setting, the operations tempo varies. Some go through a deployment at a steady tempo, while others develop those bumps and bruises due to the high tempo. When this happens, one needs to take care of themselves, not getting out of the fight but throttling back for a little, prepared to get back in the fight.

Now, the runner sees the finish line and is in a position not only to finish, but to win. Instead of giving up after all they have been through, a runner would open up stride on the final stretch and give all they have left. Deployed members in the last days of their deployment, most likely are burnt out, but they can't give up before they redeploy. Instead, they continue to contribute to winning the mission by finishing up, giving it all they have finishing strong.

When your time here is short and your mind is in others places, it's important to try to stay focused and finish strong.