Seen and unseen Rockers make it happen

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- It's hard to believe that another year has passed by so quickly. With Thanksgiving behind us and a new year ahead, it's a perfect time to reflect upon past accomplishments and establish future goals.

This past year, I've had the privilege of meeting and helping scores of people, but I couldn't have done it without the assistance of many outstanding folks who work behind the scenes. These unseen and often unsung heroes' ensure that our Air Force operates smoothly. Their efforts also inspired the Kirtland Top-3 Association -- a group composed of Kirtland's senior noncommissioned officers -- to establish the Rocker Award around this time last year.

The Rocker Award is presented monthly to Airmen and noncommissioned officers who have demonstrated exceptional duty performance. Top-3 members nominate folks monthly by submitting several bullet statements describing their nominee's performance. The Top-3 executive council appoints a panel of senior NCOs to review the nominations and a winner is selected. Each winner is given a certificate and $25. They are also publicly recognized at the Top-3's monthly meeting.

Each time a Rocker is presented, I'm reminded of President Teddy Roosevelt's thoughts concerning those who work hard and persevere regardless of applause or criticism:

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

President Roosevelt's words epitomize those who have received the Rocker Award, but his words also describe the lives of many folks here. Our diverse missions are demanding and require a dedicated corps of selfless professionals to get them done. Thus, we can expect to make important decisions, perform important acts and work crazy hours. Moreover, we can expect to enter the "arena" now and in the future as our Air Force grows smaller. Our efforts will help us soar to great heights and will also inspire those who follow our lead to strive for excellence in matters big and small.

To the many seen and unseen Rockers out there, thanks for everything you do to make our Air Force the most lethal fighting force the world has ever known.