Career Focus: We do … because we can

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, New Mexico -- Serving as a career advisor has many great advantages. Every day is filled with new and exciting challenges, and this duty is never routine or mundane. I have the privilege of meeting Airmen from every career field. I have learned many things about personnel programs, professional development, mentoring and counseling.

I have also seen and experienced more of our Air Force. It has been enlightening and career broadening to see and work in a world outside of aircraft maintenance. The most interesting thing I've learned is that many career Airmen -- including myself -- never intended to make the Air Force a career; yet we are still serving.

At the end of my first enlistment, I was determined to leave. I was stationed at RAF Bentwaters, England, and was serving as an electrician on the venerable A-10A Thunderbolt II aircraft. I enjoyed the assignment, but I was ready to return to the civilian job market and pursue my dream of becoming a lawyer. With only a few months left on my enlistment, the Air Force offered me an assignment to an F-16 aircraft maintenance squadron at Hill AFB, Utah. I had always wanted to work on the Fighting Falcon so it didn't take long for me to reenlist and accept the assignment.

After eight years on active duty, I was ready to leave again; however, I received orders to my dream destination -- Alaska. I also got to work on the mighty F-15 Eagle. For a kid from Philly, there wasn't a chance of me missing this opportunity. The Air Force has always offered me incentives to stay. I used to believe that I stayed for the aircraft, but I know that is was something more powerful. It was and remains the people.

We get to do really exciting jobs, but we also have the great fortune of serving alongside America's finest warriors and civilians. Every Airman who has served during the last sixty years has played a part in making us great. We have achieved massive successes. We have fought and continue to fight wars. We have dominated the skies and explored space. We serve outside the wire with Soldiers and Marines. We are technical masters, skillful managers and superb leaders. We earn and are given responsibility early and demand the best of ourselves and each other.

So how did we become the world's most dominant air, space and cyberspace power?

We developed and cared for our people like no other organization in the world, and we continue this proud tradition today. We hire the best people. We give them military training. We give them superior technical training. We provide supervisory and leadership opportunities. We promote education. We compensate generously. We treat each other with respect. We recognize and reward our people. We innovate and initiate. We do what most private corporations wish they could. How do we do incredible things even in the face of force shaping?

We do ... because we can.

Sixty years ago, our Air Force was established. We have been very fortunate to have extraordinary and visionary leaders. Our proud heritage, customs and values did not happen by accident. They were developed by the efforts of smart, hardworking, dedicated and self-sacrificing Airmen. In our chaotic world, it's reassuring to know that the character and skills of every Airman are still reaching new heights. It's not the money, benefits or cool weapons that convince us to stay. It's the mission and the professional Airmen with whom we serve!

If you would like career assistance or seek enlisted professional development opportunities, contact me at 846-6636 or email me at joseph.mulcahy@kirtland.af.mil

See you in the wings!