Leadership Ideas, Information and News

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Only fools sit around wishing for good old days

Commentary by Chief Master Sgt. William Harrington
31st Logistics Readiness Squadron

5/17/2013 - AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy (AFNS) -- I was recently sitting on my uncle's porch in Compton, Calif., talking with him about the Air Force and the Los Angeles Lakers when my uncle began playing Al Green on a new stereo system he had just purchased.

As we reminisced, I asked my Uncle James, "What happened to the old days when you played your albums and 45s?"

My uncle looked at me and said, "Only a fool sits around and wishes for the old days."

He went on to further explain. "Things are constantly changing and to remain relevant all of us must be willing to change," he said.

So I ask you, how many times have you heard about the "Old Air Force"? When I joined the Air Force in the old days, it seemed as if we had unlimited dollars and numerous personnel. I can remember hot seating -- sharing a desk with three other Airmen. There were unlimited resources and more than enough personnel to accomplish the mission in the good old days.

Our nation has changed, our Air Force has changed, our enemies have changed, and the way we train and fight has changed. We must change or change will be forced upon us. Due to budgetary constraints and personnel reductions, our Air Force leaders has been forced to make some tough calls. Leaders at all levels are being forced to look at better and more efficient ways to accomplish the mission. The good old days are gone forever.

My uncle used the word "fool" but he didn't use in a disrespectful or demeaning way. What he meant was, life is meant to be lived looking forward. The same can be said about our great Air Force. If we are to remain the world's greatest fighting force we must continue to look forward. We must continue to develop and leverage leading edge technology. More importantly, we must continue to develop and educate our officer and enlisted forces. It is the great minds of individuals like yourself who will continue to move our great Air Force forward.

We can't ever begin to think what worked yesterday will work tomorrow. The victories of yesterday do not guarantee easy wins tomorrow. We can't get caught up living, wishing, hoping for the good old days. We must stay in front of the enemy. We must continue to pursue and destroy those whose aim is to harm our way of life.

We need current and future leaders like yourself to continue to push our Air Force into the future. The good days are just that: good and old.

However, it's still great to think about those times. I plan to go home tonight and listen to my Motown oldies music. With all the changes and budgetary constraints, I must admit I still love my Air Force. These are the best of days for our Air Force, despite some of the challenges.

When you find yourself thinking about the good old days, just remember we have to be better today than we were yesterday. The good old days were great, today is even better and tomorrow will be better still.

Let's continue to be innovative during these difficult and trying times. Our nation and way of living is counting on all of us to continue to look forward and not live in the past. No matter how difficult or challenging the times, our goal and focus must always be forward.

Have a good today and a better tomorrow.

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