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Commentary Search

What's Your Why?

  • Published
  • By Maj. Scott Vandenberghe
  • 117th Civil Engineering Squadron
Why did you get up this morning? Why did you join the Air National Guard? Why do you come to drill?

We all need to have a laser focus on our “why.” Our why is what keeps us going when we’re tired. Our why is what gives us the extra boost to get over the top, and our why is what makes us great.

My why is my vision of the way things should be in order to be better. I can see the tasks that I need to do to make that happen. For me my why is like a familiar path that I’ve walked many times. Even when I haven’t been there yet, I can still see the things that must be changed to stay on the path. The Air Force Core Values are always a good guidepost to keep centered.

My current path is Commander of the 117th Civil Engineering Squadron. It is a path that I am lucky enough to get to walk with my squadron and the wing. That’s my most driving why. I will strive to be a servant leader and deliver upon our squadron and wing more of the same successes and even greater accomplishments than those achieved in the past.

Things that go against my why are like rumble edges on the interstate. One of those negative things is every Airman not being a leader, at least in some capacity. Everyone is not Gen. George S. Patton, but everyone can be a leader­–always to some, and sometimes to all. Lead those around you to a better place in your shop, in your squadron, in the wing and in your community. Be an example for others. Leadership is not a position you achieve, it’s something you train for every day of your life.

Do you know why the United States has the greatest military the modern world has ever seen? It’s not our numbers–there are nations that have many more people in uniform than we do. It’s not the technology that we have–technological parity is becoming more and more prevalent. What makes us the best is the quality of our people. We are better trained as a whole than any other military organization in the world. You’ll see as we deploy to active installations that the Air National Guard has the best of the best in terms of skill levels and in the Airman leader. Do your part to keep that tradition going, because we are only as good as our next opportunity.

Do we have problems? Sure there are some, and there will always be some. The real question is, are you doing your part to correct them? If you aren’t part of the solution then, as they say, you’re part of the problem. On [any] base there isn’t a problem that the lowest Airman can’t make better. Go out and make it better and have a good time doing it. Better yourself along the way. We need you to be successful as a person, an Airman, and as a leader.

What’s your why?